Words. Placed one way they can mean one thing. Placed in a different order, and their meaning drastically changes. I chose to focus on “you”, rather than “I”, because it’s natural for us to see others more clearly before we see ourselves.
But is this really the case?
When we meet someone, for the first time, we rarely approach them by asking who are you? We begin talking. Small talk. Sports, news, or weather to begin. Common interests surface that then extend our conversation. Connection begins to occur.
We form our judgment about who the other person is. Never do we ask the question again of “who are you” to see what things we may not know about the other person. Happy to continue, we simply move along in our day.
Since we never easily understand the gaps in our knowledge, we fall short of knowing better “who you are”. Over time, we may get closer to understanding the answer to this question. Sadly then, we now face a new difficulty.
Knowing “who you are” is easy to accept when the other person meets or fulfills our expectations of them. It’s when we don’t exactly like “who you are” that causes us problems. Big problems.
When you don’t act the way we want you to. When you don’t say the right things that we want to hear. When you have personality traits that leads to behavior that makes us feel uncomfortable. When you don’t acknowledge my life or works or interests the way I think they should be acknowledged.
Without accepting “who you are”, you can never live your life with unconditional love. This “who you are” that we don’t like gets in the way and leads us to emotional and sometimes irrational decisions or behavior creating more distance between us.
Instead of overlooking things, we use the things we don’t like about the other person as excuses to not work at further building our relationships or continuing our friendships. We let these things change our behavior towards the other person in bad and sometimes bitter ways. In the end, we lose, for we alone created these fences between us.
Our relationships becomes more transactional. You might say that “because they did this then I won’t do that”. Nothing good comes when there is an accounting record held of the transactions between us with respect to our relationship.
To live a life that is abundant, we need to approach all of our relationships with abundance. We must be consistent in what we believe and how we treat others by always accepting and embracing “who you are”. Accepting unconditionally “who you are” is the biggest step towards becoming effective at creating a life full of connection.
The harder lesson to learn is that everything begins with us and no one else. We can only control our own thoughts and behavior. Wouldn’t you agree?