Some people in life inspire us to be better, to grow, to evolve, to rise to the occasion, to believe in ourselves, to trust our intuition, to share our gifts, to express our emotions, to speak our perspective, to care more about ourselves than anyone else. Some people foster that drive in us.
And some people serve as a different catalyst to growth and evolution. Some people are there for us to move forward in spite of what they teach us, instill in us, and condition us to believe. For those of us who are not aware of these people’s purpose in our lives, they can be the voices in your head that keep you from doing all the things I mentioned before. They can poison your thought, undermine your talents and abilities, doubt your strength and resilience. They can deter you from walking forward on your path and expect you to consider there opinions, ideas, needs, and expectations ahead of your own. These people can be aware of what they are doing, but more often than not, they are the next generation in a long line of naysayers and are unaware of the impact and pain they inflict in their relationships. And, in case you know one or a few of these members of your community and you want to awaken them to the role they play, stop. Keep reading.
The most frustrating and disempowering aspect of maintaining a relationship with people of this nature is they do not and will not see it unless they seek to learn their true nature of their own free will. They have adopted a self-absorbed mentality in life and this prevents them from having the capacity to be aware of the role they are playing when it is reflected to them. It is all about them. They want to be understood, they expect to be considered first and foremost and they are mostly unable to see it from another perspective, but they expect you to see it their way. Sound familiar?
Perhaps you would say that everyone is like that to a degree. However, the difference between those of us that know our life revolves around us and can have a humble understanding of what that means. I.E. my reality is based on my perspective of the world, people, and circumstances I am experiencing. Even though some of my perspectives have been sourced from others and do not belong to me or my reality, they are here influencing my life and I am the center of that microcosmic world. This is not true for the above mentioned personalities. Those who you ‘evolve in spite of’ want everyone to see things from their perspective, feel entitled to be offended if you don’t, and will punish any behavior that points out their shortcomings, mistakes, downfalls, or passive aggressive assaults.
I’ll give you an example. On my personal journey of self-realization, I felt called to receive a new name. I did not anticipate this change nor did I seek it out, but it arrive along my path just the same. I understood that it might come as a shock to people in my life, especially my parents, but I was not willing to disregard this inner calling for their sake, so I received a new name during a silent retreat I attended. It was a perfect fit. I was overjoyed to start this next chapter in my life with a fresh start and a new name. Fast forward to a little over a year later. I am still being called and responding to my birth name by my parents. Although I have expressed tolerance and patience around their resistance to even consider using my correct name and address me as I call myself, I have spoke about it only twice. Once, saying, “Wow, that is really triggering me when you call me that.” And, “You know, I don’t remember you ever using my old name as much as you do now. It is like every time you talk to me you have to say it.”
I made one of these statements to each of my parents at different times. One parent was reflective as to how their behavior affected me and acknowledged this impact. One parent wanted to see it see it the way they say the situation and was not reflective about their behavior while criticizing me for not being more understanding or thoughtful about their experience. This is the behavior that I am referring to in relationships. When you bring an issue or concern to light, it is met with offense, often followed by some type of punishment righteousness about their perspective without any desire or attempt to empathize with the other person.
These type of interactions can foster a desire to also take a stance of superiority or righteousness. Try to resist this approach. Instead, understand that they are there in your life for a reason. The reason varies from person to person, but it seems to boil down to a few core lessons that we must learn as human beings. One, that you are actually the most important person in your life. Although the “in spite of” people may be taking this truth to the extreme, it is a good thing to remember. Once you realize that you are the most important person in your life, you can claim full responsibility for your life experience, which is based on your personal perceptions. Two, empathy is a quality that fosters intimacy and vulnerability in every relationship. If you do not have the capacity or willingness to empathize in your relationships, you can only achieve a certain level of depth and closeness in those relationships. And now that you know what that defensive and self-centered approach to interacting feelings like as the recipient, you are much more motivated to not be like that with other people. Three, you have a dynamic, resilient nature that can overcome nearly any circumstance, even being manipulated or unseen in the most impactful relationships. And finally, acceptance, understanding, and unconditional love are first and foremost sourced from within. As you find disappointment and hurts in these relationships, you begin to receive more and more motivation to go inward and source these qualities from inside of yourself as opposed to the relationships outside. And as a result of this process of going within, you will find that you attract more and more relationships that mirror that inner reality to you in the external world.
Suyana (which means ‘hope’ in the Quechua language)
P.S. Thank you to all my relationships in life.