A few days ago I felt compelled to ask my cousin a question. The dialogue went something like this:
Me: “Would you say that you are someone who highly values other people?”
Cousin: “Yeah definitely.”
He pondered this for a moment before giving his answer. His reasons were:
- He’s really ingrained with the people he knows.
- He uses social interactions as a way of learning about himself.
This last point surprised me; it’s not something I’ve considered. I’m really used to the idea of internally analyzing myself in order to discern ‘who I truly am’ since no one else is capable of giving an accurate holistic picture; only the person living my life can do that.
Yet when I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. We all have our own internal idea of who we are, but until we interact with another person, & have it challenged, that idea is just a fantasy. Other people can make us think about aspects of ourselves we have never considered.
I guess that ties back into what started this whole train of thought – I don’t like what my interactions with people have told me. The messages I tend to receive are:
- My default instinct is to wall myself off from others.
- People can interact with each other just fine, but they have trouble interacting with me.
- People have a lot to offer me, but I don’t have much to offer them.
- There’s still a lot more I need to learn & experience.
- I’m a good diligent guy, yet I’m no fun to talk to.
Given that context, it seems understandable now why I would prefer to isolation myself sometimes, no matter how bad I may want someone with me. Guess I’m more emotional then I seem to be.
Granted, it’s unfair to say all my interactions tell me this. Given the right mood, I can briefly chat with shop attendants just fine, & I can interact with my flatmates reasonably well. But the negative ones do stick out (almost like I’ve programmed myself to obsess over them…).
A part of me wonders if I’m only like this due to the social environment I’m in. That if I were to meet someone brand new, someone from another place, someone unlike all the others I’ve met so far, (with the right frame of mind) I could do better. The thought won’t stop my instinct to wall myself off, but awareness & hope is better than nothing.
Anyway, I asked him the above because I’d been thinking I value people too little, but I also wanted to test a point.
I’m under the impression that people tend to seek relationships for fundamentally selfish reasons (not necessarily ‘bad’ ones). People who want gratification will seek people that will please them. People who seek superiority will seek people they can dominate. People who seek intellectual stimulation will seek ‘smart’ people. So on & so forth.
When I think about what I want from people, I think I want people who can inspire me. People who can think about things in unusual or creative ways. People who can show what a human being can be, do, & create.
Though, perhaps more fundamentally, I just want to have good company. I want people I can enjoy, people who enjoy me, & people who will enjoy what I enjoy (I like to think that’s what most human beings fundamentally want from each other). What exactly we do enjoy however seems to be the crucial part of all social circles.
I, like anyone else, want to have good relationships, but I’m also aware of how a seemingly good relationship can be bad. It’s surprising how common relationships:
- Have one side be hurtful to the other.
- Have one side put up with the other, typically because they feel they have to.
- Is based on fear & control.
- Are purely based on what the other provides for them; ‘just business’.
I feel like there’s more angles to this but I can’t think of anymore.
I don’t want any of that with my relationships. Relationships shouldn’t be about enforcing an idea of yourself onto others. Rather they should serve as learning experiences that show who you have become.
I want them to be based on a genuine interest of the people involved. To me, that means being truthful & up front with those I interact with. It means letting people know what I am.
However there is one apparent major downside to this – it seems that finding anyone you can have this sort of relationship with is rare, at least from the onset. More likely it’s something you have to build towards, something you have to be willing to put time into. I guess I’m too used to dismissing that.
Glad I got that done. Since writing the first part out I’ve been feeling better. My mind feels clearer now that I’m not bogged down by these thoughts.
I want to go spend the rest of my last free day playing games (probably Dark Souls 3 or The Witcher 2), but I know I need to utilize these thoughts before the negativity returns. I’ve been thinking I should try out Omegle, or something similar, as a social outlet but my broadband is still crap (though that should change in a month’s time). Suppose I’ll just use self-help techniques in the meantime.
Thank you for reading.