I am fascinated (said with bug eyes) how situations unfold, relationships change, and interactions with people are as different as every individual is.
I wrote something called Relationship Dynamics over a year ago, and this is again along those lines.
The type of interaction we have with people depends completely on what combinations we end up with when we mix two people together. Kinda like flour and eggs. All sorts of different ingredients added to flour and eggs will produce completely different foods… and in different amounts; the combinations are endless. This is also true of people.
I recently met someone IRL that I only knew through the internet. A ‘top quality human’ by all accounts, and from the moment of first interaction, the type of dynamic was questionable. That’s a broad word to use, but I struggle to find a better word. I say questionable in that I was unsure about everything. The interaction was not fluid, not comfortable, and this seemed to be true for both of us. Not understanding, not communicating. Not being the friends in real life we thought we were online. One of us wrapped our head around it for the most part, but the other built an interaction dynamic in their head that was specific, judgmental, and wholly inaccurate. Then proceeded to try and make it reality.
The enlightened Byron Katie talks about the need some people have to tell you who you are. When they do this, they are essentially telling you about them. She says: “When you do The Work, you see who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts.”
There is another story like this, which I feel really nails it:
"It’s a story of two dogs…
Both at separate times walk into the same room.
One comes out wagging his tail while the other comes out growling.
A woman watching this goes into the room to see what could possibly make one dog so happy and the other so mad.
To her surprise she finds a room filled with mirrors.
The happy dog found a thousand happy dogs looking back at him while the angry dog found a thousand dogs growling back at him.
What you see in the world around you is a reflection of who you are."
Over the years I’ve given many friends advice based on these ideas of the dogs and what Byron Katie says. If someone is telling you who YOU are, they are REALLY telling you who THEY are. It is not healthy to walk around telling people who they are. We need to worry about who we are. “worry about yourself” is great advice, and a tangent I will have to revisit on another day since I have great examples.
My experience of having my “friend” point a finger at me: “You are ___”, “You’re so ___”, “You need to ___” I was left realizing that they were creating the world they were insisting to live in, and it had nothing to do with who I ACTUALLY am. I also realized that if I am to believe they are telling me who they are, I should listen carefully, and realize they might be telling me this is a very unhealthy relationship, and to walk away quickly.
Pay attention to what is in the mirror, don’t avoid looking in it, and maybe sometimes we even need to notice when we are standing there looking in one.