Growing up, I was a drama-free person. Protected, my only concern was to play outside, climb up the highest tree and build the biggest tree house. Life was easy. Later in elementary school whenever someone spread a rumor, I would not entertain it and simply mind my own business.
Years later, I had this creeping realization that things had changed. Gossip was more noticeable and everywhere along my road to adulthood but I tried hard not to get involved in the minutiae of people’s everyday issues. The more I avoided gossip, the more people bombarded me with their problems, yet (and this was weird) did not really want to listen to suggestions on how to fix things. I recall, there was one particular week when I listened to one of my closest friends over the course of about three days who explain why she was so depressed and stressed about a boyfriend. It took another two days to analyze the nonsensical petty text message fight between my friend and this guy whom she spent a couple of years with but who was married. (Note to self: Do not get involved with married men!) I spent several lunch breaks at work with another friend who told me everything on how she found out that her husband cheated and the issues and rollercoaster trajectory she faced with her new boyfriend because of all this. (Note to self: Do not get married, like ever!)
People describe me as a fairly rational human being; I am calm if you don’t push me too far, level-headed, collected and driven. But then, I am sometimes drawn to drama because it 1) distracts from my own life issues and stress for a bit; 2) it transfers me into a pseudo-peer counselor to my friends and I like to help and find solutions and 3) personal growth. I also love people- watching and to eavesdrop on first-date conversations at for example a coffee shop where I usually write and read. With personal family issues, I have this desire to get to the bottom of things. But at the same time, I am not into any pop culture news or drama and I would rather poke my eyeballs out than watch The Bachelor or Big Brother. I guess, this magnetism for problems and issues stems back to my upbringing. Again, everything was drama-free, somewhat discouraged and labeled as “uncool” or “other people’s problems and not your business”. So I stuck to myself, my hobbies, books, and studies which I guess led to this introversion that somewhat stunted me emotionally and socially but this is totally fine. What has changed is that I started to prioritize friendships and listen to my gut and heart more than anything, but I still want to relate to others. I am ready to listen and to connect because I somehow embrace and accept that other’s trust me. But at the core, I simply just don’t let others consume all my energy and time anymore.
We all have some sort of role within this social system which creates a feeling of belonging. Listening to other people’s stories always allows me to grow, too. With all this being said, it took me a very long time to really understand how some people work. It took me an even longer time to understand that emotions are complicated and that logic and analysis are non-existent when someone is in love. And the funny thing is, while I help others, I am at the same time sorting through my own conflicts, or develop a plan to move forward or in a completely different direction which makes it important interpersonal work. I can learn so much from others which brings me a deep sense of satisfaction. We are all resolving our own issues and move forward in a new or for us “right” direction to connect to an even deeper intimacy with who we are and what we love.
Food for Thought:
I love to find out more about how humans tick because some stories people share with me are rather shocking. There is always this uncertainty in life; an uncertainty that removes our judgment of others and ourselves. It makes us think if we are lovable or not, or if we are attractive or not. We find out through experience and people who believe they know everything learn nothing. One way to solve problems is to first admit that actions and beliefs up to this point have been wrong and obviously do not work. I have to keep in mind that my (or other people’s) values are imperfect and incomplete. To assume that they are perfect just throws me in a mindset that breeds entitlement and simply avoids responsibility. Also, an openness to being wrong must exist for any real change to take place. Everybody has their own values and protects them. People try to live up to them and justify them and maintain them. This is who we are.
I sometimes call it human troubleshooting and I figured it is not so important to find myself or to know who I am 100% because this keeps me striving and discovering. In the end, it forces me to remain humble in my judgment and accepting of the differences in others and myself.