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Understanding People

January 28, 2014

Okay, I admit, I am no expert in the field of understanding people. I tend to take people at face value. Assuming that people mean what they say. When in fact, generally, there is a whole undercurrent with many, which represents what they really mean, that they are for some reason reticent to put into so many words.

I am no stranger to this kind of behavior. I engage in it more these days, particularly with people who I don’t know very well, or who I know don’t have my interests in mind. One thing I have learned more recently, which was quite a surprise, is the lengths some people will go to, to make up stories to cover their tracks. Many people are much more storytellers, than they are truth tellers.

For many it is all about creating a narrative they are comfortable with. And they are quite happy to sacrifice others well being and values to fit them into a role in this narrative. I am not one for playing roles just for the sake of making others feel comfortable. And neither should anyone else be.

I am not always the best with words in the moment. Because I am always thinking about what I am going to say, and I am always trying to listen genuinely to what others say, rather than coming out with some unconscious or impulsive reaction or comment, just to make myself look better.

It would be good if there were more people willing to think about what they say, but it seems many are content to weave their narrative stories, in which they are the center, and everyone else has a clear role within. This kind of thinking is not good for anyone, and on both the large and small scale, when people believe too strongly in these stories they can start to feel trapped by a set role within it.

To my mind, life is not a story. Life is a challenge in which each day brings something new that you have to face, and that you cannot fit into line with some preconceived perception. Harsh reality is always there on the fringes of our awareness, and I think this is why we tend to hide in the comfort of stories.

I think a fiction story is a great outlet. It can spark your imagination, and it can inspire you. But when you make yourself just a character in some story, you are turning yourself and others into victims. And you are refusing to acknowledge the two core principles of existence. Compassion, and non-attachment to outcome of actions.

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