so, i have seen it written and heard it a million times: people dont really change.
everyone seems so convinced of it. and to be honest, i used to be convinced of it as well. people never really change.
but, something happened that shocked the ever living FVK out of me. without boring people with the details, i experienced something that forced me to accept the reality of the fact that nobody knows what i am thinking and feeling. that people are completely, 100%, incapable of it.
of course, i had to accept the fact that i could never hope to know what is going on in someone else's head either. i could not cling to my old way of thinking. it was such a shocking and traumatic experience for me that i couldnt bring myself to think that i really knew what someone else was thinking or feeling.
i always looked back at my own experience. it forced me to accept that since i dont really know, since i CANT really know, i have to ask. and i have to accept their answer as truth, even though i know that they could be lying to me. and if they were lying to me, i had to accept that i have no idea why. i had to accept that they have a legitimate reason. they had a fear that was stronger than they knew how to handle.
knowing that they cannot know what I am feeling or thinking, and knowing how sure i was about everyone else before i was b!tch slapped into reality, i couldnt hold it against them. i simply couldnt. i knew they had their own histories and stories that led them to think and act the way they do. i cant hold someones history against them.
the other night my wife freaked out a bit. she was feeling insecure. she attacked me verbally for about ten minutes. after listening to her, i raised my voice, the way i would if i were angry. but, within a few words, i dropped my tone and told her what i really thought about our conflict: i told her that if she really knew what was in my heart for her, she would melt. because the truth was, i was never angry with her. i wanted to hold her close and let her know that she was loved. i told her that if she REALLY knew what i felt, she would melt. she would feel incredibly loved. because i felt nothing but love for her. i let her know that i fully accept that sometimes i have to redirect her focus sometimes. because sometimes she focuses on her own demons too much. after that, she told me what was really bothering her. i loved it. all of it. she is growing. she is changing. and its beautiful to see. she is becoming so much more than she ever thought possible.
so, i have to say, i think i get what "death to self" is all about. its about awareness. acceptance of what is. and of course, you cannot accept what you are not aware of. it got me thinking about bible verses. i mean, what does it mean to hate your brother or sister, mother and father? i dont think it means to hate the person, the who. i think it means to hate the judgement of WHO they are. i mean, at any point, my mother could change in the same way i do, and she would be a different person. she could at any point decide to betray me as well. if she did, and i loved the title of mother, i would be crushed. but, if i hate the title, because it is a title, i will always love her. i will not judge her for what she does, i will just love her because she is a person, and because i love people. so, if my mother does something that shocks me, ill just accept that i did not know her. if i love my mother, and she stops acting like my mother one day, ill be distraught. if i love her simply because she is a person and i can love her, then nothing she does will ever rock me. nor will it stop me from loving her.
this is how i love my wife. if she does something out of the blue, i accept the fact that i did not know who she was. i know WHAT she is. she is a person who is just as clueless as me. but, she chooses who she is, even if she doesnt realize it. i love WHAT she is, not who she is. i will never love anyone for who they are ever again. i will be proud of them for who they choose to be, but i will never love them for WHO they are. i will love them because they are. which is the same as loving myself for what i am.
if you have read this far, i applaud you. if you have any questions for me, ask away. my only question for you is this: do you love people, including your spouse, for who they are, or for what they are?
"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson