People, on average, are not like me. Most people don’t like think like me, act like me, or experience life the same way I do. Fact of life. Put another way, I’m an unusual person.
Yet somehow that doesn’t stop me from assuming that people are like me or if not, they should be. This is foolish for two reasons– or it may be foolish for many more, but two reasons immediately come to mind: a) because of all the blatant evidence to the contrary, and b) because the world would be a very dark and scary place were it populated solely by Veena clones. We’d all overthink ourselves into oblivion and never get out from under the covers in the morning.
While I go around blindly insisting that everyone else share the same views and hold the same interests as me, I’d never thought I’d like me if I met me. I’m insistent, demanding, and hey, who likes someone that insists everyone be like them anyway?
Then I met me– or at least as close as you can get while still being a separate person. To be fair, while we have striking similarities, she’s not just a replicate of me. She’s like an ideal version of me, smoothed out around the edges with some fifteen years of experience of living life in a healthy, unselfish way. She is a real woman.
Meeting her instilled in me a lot of hope about the person I might become. Keep making the right choices and I might actually like the changes, might actually like myself.
There was a period of time when I spent hours each day talking to this woman. And oh, it was glorious. We didn’t have to mess with any small talk. We were clear about our intentions and about how much free time we had. We delved into the nitty gritty of various philosophical and spiritual, discussed parenting and childhood, life, the universe, and everything else.
During one of these conversations and for no apparent reason, I became suddenly overwhelmed. I felt utterly suffocated and got off the phone abruptly, reeling with emotional exhaustion. We’d been so deep for so many days and hours that I just felt like, Man, I need a breath of fresh air.
Consider that this was with my best friend and role model, someone who has never asked anything of me but has consistently supported me in my trials.
And then it hit me. Holy crap. This is what people experience on a daily basis when they interact with me. Except, of course, with the caveat that I am considerably more negative and selfish. That’s what people would experience with the best possible version of me. It’s so INTENSE.
I turned to my husband who was sitting next to me and watched him with an entirely newfound sense of awe. I planted a kiss on his cheek in the same state of awe and said simply, “I don’t know how you do it.”
Really, I don’t. My husband makes some light-hearted comment and I try to turn it into a deep, focused conversation on the meaning of life. And that happens every single day. If that’s how it is on the good days, it must be utterly soul-crushing on the bad days.
It’s a good reminder for me to see things as they are, to be open to the whole palette of life rather than just black and white. I can see my potential for becoming a great wife and at the same time I can see the dangers of letting the more difficult aspects of my nature simply run unchecked. A personality trait of mine doesn’t even have to be a flaw in order for it to suck the energy out of others. Useful information.