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Do I Know You?

Do we really know people whom we think we know? Without our ideas or concepts of who they are, are they still who they are? Yet, whatever they portray to be, are they truly that?

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a loved one who revealed that he feels a certain attraction towards this person but was wise to discern that he does not know if he likes or loves this person until he really knows this person. The truth is, we can never really know another. And here in this case of this loved one and the one whom he is attracted to, is like that. They will go out on dates, much less spend time together, and he will begin to observe her, and she will begin to observe him too, discerning if they are right for each other. What I mean here ‘right for each other’ is to mean that if he could pick up qualities of her that resonates with him, or more so, what he thinks of himself at that moment, then he might grow to like her a little more concluding that she is like this and she is like that.. and if he likes what he is experiencing… always failing to notice that it is actually the very same qualities of himself that he likes in himself, he might conclude that she is the right one for him. And say, she displays qualities that he doesn’t like about himself, then he might jump into the conclusion that she is not the right one for him because he then decides that he doesn’t like her.

I’d say that the attraction is beyond our control as it just happens. Likes always attracts the likes. Someone posted me a question if it is the similar or the opposite that attracts. My take for the moment is that it is both. In truth, there are no opposites. Very much like how I admire a person, I am always admiring a person for a quality that I have within, but not yet discover or unravel due to many reasons; and how when I dislike someone, it is usually the qualities that I dislike about myself. Hence what seems opposite is actually the same underneath. My cousin was telling me how he is in love with this girl he is now dating because she is the total opposite of him, and he likes that otherwise he’d be dating a mirror! The truth is, he is dating his mirror – the part of him that he has yet to discover in him or rather, thought lacked in him. He hasn’t really realised that he is in fact, dating just himself.

Ponder on it, if we did not put a conclusion or a judgement on another – say, she is loving; then would it make any difference to you when one day, she behaves unlovingly? Most likely not, and she would be as she is – indefinable. Another example, she is wise – and during moments when you find her speaking or doing unwise things – then you might conclude she is not that wise after all and probably end up getting irritated with her for not being the wise person whom you had concluded her to be, for not living up to your expectations of how she is supposed to be, in your mind.

There is really not a personality to anyone, but yet that is what we do – we judge and conclude ourselves and others of a personality, totally disallowing ourselves and others to sway away from the ideas that we have of ourselves and others. Can you imagine how tiring and hard that must be for ourselves and others? The truth is that, we and others are living off or rather acting out fluctuating states of mind and what we experience majority of the time with this person is what we conclude this person to be. It is possible why couples tend to end up in arguments and dislike each other’s personalities when they spend too long a time together due to the fleeting states of mind, which is uncontrollable to them if they had not yet questioned their own behaviour, decisions much less others.

My dad used to tell me this ‘I love you, but that does not mean that I like you’ and I used to ponder on that. I came to realise that love itself, or whatever word you wish to call it is in truth unconditional as the bond doesn’t get threaten. But what happens is that when we start to place concepts on others or even ourselves (because we have to define ourselves in order to define others), and on top of that place other concepts around the bond or connection like the shoulds, should nots, must, must nots – expectations come into the relationship and hence when expectations are not met, war happens and that hurts. It hurts because it seems to threaten the bond between two or more people with ourselves.

And we find that, during momentary wars like these, two people need their space. Yet because of the concepts built around the relationship, the fear of losing the relationship, the fear of change in the relationship or more so the other person propels each other to consistently try to reach out to each other in a very inauthentic way when their own healing or calming process have not come to an end – often, as if an assurance to the other that hey, I am still here, and I still love you, so don’t leave me yet; or as an assurance to ourselves that yes, this person is still here with me… and I better hurry this process of anger or discomfort so that we can regain the experience of joy of being together again. But when I can’t seem to get out of it, I might want to manipulate the other to get the other to apologise so that I can come to peace again and in that peace, I can move confidently in the so-called relationship I have with this other person. The truth is that this doesn’t really work though it seems to for many couples. They sweep a part of themselves under the carpet so that they could go back to this person, or to the relationship; or they walk away from this person, or from the relationship concluding (again!) that this person is not right for them. Either way, it is a mode of running away and not taking responsibility.

If we could begin to understand that there is not really a personality in the first place except what is being played out for that moment, we will begin to understand that the other’s behaviour is simply a manifestation of a fleeting state of mind, although unconsciously.

The other person never changed, though it seemed like it. The other person is as it is, whatever she believes herself to be and whatever you believe her to be, at that precise moment. The other person, or as a matter of fact, you too, is indefinable.

So, you can recognise the state that the other person is in, but never truly know the other, until you have come to realise that personalities don’t really exist; until you have come to realise what is it that propels you to conclude a personality, which includes who you think you are.

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