I’ve been examining how I respond to others a lot lately. Examining if I am responding to cruelty or vindictiveness with the same. If I am reacting rather than acting. If I am responding rather than simply continuing to live my life.
It gets mixed together sometimes–the living of one’s life and responding to the actions of another. I’ve been finding myself asking if I would be doing this if that other thing hadn’t happened. If I would be living in this way if that other person hadn’t done that one thing.
It’s complicated, no? Because we are all products of our pasts, we are all products of those
who shaped our lives, for positive or negative. Who we are today is in many ways a response to the input of others, of experiences, from our past. It seems at times we are constantly living in response to others, as without those others and those experiences we would not be who we are.
So my question is at what point do we start to define ourselves and is that “self definition” also a response to others? We are symbiotically intertwined and yet we are all individuals. The lines get blurred on good days for me, and seems they are nonexistent on not so good days.
I don’t have the answer. I have been examining my reactions to some resent upsets in my life and trying to figure out what is authentically me and what is response to another and whether there is a difference between the two. It’s a challenge. I’m unwrapping this complex question as best I can, and living my life as authentically as I can. I am who I am, and yet who am I?
I believe in the power of community and relationship and how we can guide each other to a better way of being. Positive and negative experiences can herald growth. Without the input from the outside world how would our triggers become apparent to us and how would we find the safe spaces to examine these triggers and grow?
A huge piece for me currently however is examining how much others influence my reactions and how I live my life. It can be exhausting to have constant debates within myself of “are you doing this because you actually want to or are you doing this annoy/please/placate/etc another person? Are you doing this because you want to or because it’s what has always been done? Are you doing this because it’s what your heart is called to do or because others said/did something to make you feel you should do this? If you are doing this to annoy/please/placate/etc another why do you feel the need to do so, what is the root? Are you doing this thing ultimately for you or for another and if doing it for another is it also partially for you? And how so?
Like I said, complex and exhausting. I’m torn between simply going about my day, living my life and examining what I’m doing to the infinite detail. Trying to find the balance between introspection and living. Trying to understand myself better while still participating in the life I have, the world I live in.
So I continue. Doing the best I can. Living my life, examining my motives when I feel called to do so, finding the growth in those moments when it’s time, when I’m ready.
Intertwined. Symbiotic. Individuals. All of it, the human experience. What a ride!