Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Searching for Kindred Spirits

What's one challenge you face when interacting with people? Sometimes, the biggest dissonance for me is when I can see what is motivating the other person, but they themselves can't see it. It seems like they are not even aware of what's driving them. Sometimes though, I felt doubtful about my own perceptions because I had the belief that everybody is equally aware of what is happening inside them. 

They aren't. The blank space we can feel as sensitive people is because we are much more in touch with the unconscious aspects of our own selves, and as a result, of other people's selves. We know emotions in the most nuanced way. The downside of that is that we can get overwhelmed by this knowing, by wanting to process things deeply. But the upside is that we can take the emotional temperature of a room without even thinking about it. 

Because it comes naturally to us, we sometimes feel at a loss when it doesn't come naturally to other people. That's why we can be left feeling that we looked after someone else's needs, but very few people look after our own. This is why we can start getting resentful.

We need people who can see the world like us. We need kindred spirits, people who truly get us. On one hand, interacting with people who are different from you can stretch your horizons, expose you to new ways of being. But deep friendships are built on commonalities, on a similar world-view. 

If we have to convince others that the world we see is as real and they can't see it, our needs to be heard and understood go unmet. Our need to connect in a real, authentic way go unmet. We might be continuing with looking for meaning in such connections, connections where we can't seem to only barely touch the being of the other person, because we might have a belief that truly loving people accept everyone into their lives. 

But maybe part of loving is about realizing that people find their own people, and everyone has different needs. Maybe part of our love can be directed toward nourishing our own selves as well. Maybe when we accept that not everyone is a good fit for us, we can let go of the need to force things where they are not working. 

Maybe we can also examine other beliefs about friendship. Maybe a friend is not just someone who matches us in outer specifics, like age, life stage, or gender, but can be anybody whose heart resonates to the same things ours does. As Anne Shirley, the heroine of one of my favorite children's book series did, maybe we also need to be on the look out for our kindred spirits and when we find them, to realize that they are indeed precious, that they are they ones who feel right, who seem to understand who we are.      

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