Do you see the same person in the mirror everyday? When you look at your close family and friends, do you see the same people everyday? To do that would be to deny the experience, growth and natural evolution that has been an ongoing process in one’s life. Nevertheless, we tend to lock ourselves and others into definitions and expectations based on history.
The more familiar the person, the less we examine our ideas of them. The less we are present to who they are today. Just as we hold them to their historical ‘virtues’, we hold them to their past ‘faults’. Both of which are influenced by our own perceptions and values projected onto them. This makes the dynamics even more subtle and also variable. Over the years, not only are your own experiences and beliefs changing, but others are also independently undergoing their own transformation. Hence, looking at them with fresh eyes may reveal someone we really don’t know as well as we assume we do.
In What’s Good and New and Its a Brand New Day I discussed how we are wired and habituated to living from the past. Here, I would like to draw attention to how we condemn ourselves to repeat our relationship patterns and/or risk losing those close to us thanks to our habitual ways of typecasting them.
Ironically, most of us would like to be seen for who we are and to be understood, if not accepted, for who we are. But how much of this seeing and understanding do we offer? Do we recognize, acknowledge and allow the newness present in each one each day? Do we support the natural course of evolution or knowingly/unknowingly, resist, deny or suppress such transformation? After all, the changes may not always be to our convenience and liking. There is a comfort in the old and familiar. Such investment in our preconceived, predictable images can blind us to current reality. And as Byron Katie wisely says, “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time.”
Instead of taking them for granted, we can offer a gift of immeasurable value to our loved ones: the gift of being present.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez said something deeply profound about his thirty year relationship with his wife, Mercedes: “I know her so well now that I have not the slightest idea who she really is.” Can there be anything more loving than acknowledging and allowing a dear one to be whoever they are in the moment, without imposing your ideas of who they should be on them?
These are times of radical growth and transformation. There will be a natural parting of ways in many cases.
But to remain blinded by our unconsciousness is to deny our relationships an opportunity to find harmony at newer heights.
Related Post: Through the Looking Glass- Seeing Beyond the Image