Who are you? A seemingly simple question, but one that I think a lot of us don’t quite understand the depth of, or how that depth can change our lives for the better.
Let’s say that you ask me to write a two page paper about who I am, and then you ask my mother, my girlfriend, her sister, my brother, my barber, my coworkers and my friends to do the same. I guarantee you that while there may be some similarities, you will find more differences than anything else in their description of who I am. Ask the person who I bumped into in an elevator who I am, another different story, based on their limited understanding of who I am from that brief encounter.
So which one is me? Well, all of them and none of them. They are all different visions of what I am understood to be, and they are all right and they are all incomplete. We can only know somebody so far as we have experienced them. If I meet you on the worst day of your life, my entire understanding of you will be of you like that, which I would assume would be an incomplete vision of you.
So every person you meet or have any contact with whatsoever has an image of you, their vision of you, made up of their experiences with you. That vision is both you and not you, but the life changing realization comes from when you understand that that limited vision is their complete version of “you”. One of my favourite quotes is “Aspire to be the person that your dog thinks you are.”
How does this information change our life? Simple. When we understand that when a person speaks about us to ourselves or anyone else, they are not speaking about us, they are speaking about their vision of us. When they say something insulting, hurtful or offensive they can never speak it about us, they can only speak it about their vision of us.
So when we come to realize this, we become unoffendable. We become more understanding, and more open. Instead of being hurt by someone’s words we might instead try to understand why they see us that way, assuming we don’t agree with their analysis.
When we are told “don’t take anything personally” we really shouldn’t, because nothing can be personalized to a full version of us, only a limited, fragmented vision of us, a shadow, so to speak.
So go about your life with this understanding, stop taking things personally. If someone says something hurtful attempt to understand instead of retaliating or becoming hurt and I promise you will find your life to be much more enjoyable. You will stop worrying so much about what others think about you, because you understand they can’t think about you.
Think it over. This understanding changed my life for the better, I hope it helps you in yours.