Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You think you know me, them, whomever.

Today, a fleeting thought passed my brain as I scrolled through my facebook newsfeed and the various updates that were posted there. I lingered on a couple of pictures of old friends and thought....

Dang, they've changed a lot.

And the connotation was not a positive one. In the split second, I almost felt bad for them, pitied them, looked down on them or whatever you want to call it.

Half a second later, I realized how wrong I was to even think that way. Not only because it was such a arrogant thought, but because I thought I knew the person just by one status update, one picture, one link, one post, one whatever.

So, this got me thinking.... and I am freely writing, since this happened like a minute ago.

First, and most obvious, our definitions of a good or bad lifestyle differ from person to person, family to family, city to city, and country to country. For the most past, it really depends on your context. Therefore, what I want for myself will never be what everyone else wants for themselves and vice versa. What I think is a "good change" doesn't necessarily mean that they had a "bad change," people change. No one stays the same forever.

Second, yes, its about change. No one is static, the same way time is continuously moving along. Therefore, to expect a human being to remain static is oxymoronic. Their body changes, their cells change, their lives and minds change as well. Therefore, anyone scrolling through my facebook wall may think... "dang, she's changed a lot". The only consistency in life is its lack of consistency. Try as we might to hold onto things and think that we've never changed, but the reality is, we've changed, we just are pretending not to trace those changes.

Third, thinking we know people. This is a common topic. People think they know each other via facebook or instagram or any other social media outlet. But we don't. We see "snaps" of people's lives but we don't see the full picture. In fact, without social media, you can live with a person and think you know them, but know nothing about them at all. Think about all those friends you had in person, not cyber space, and reflect on how much you truly know their ins and outs, their thoughts and their actions. Do we really know what another person is thinking? Do you really think you can read the mind of your loved one that easily? Well then, how about a person you haven't seen for years, let alone haven't seen them in person?

We need to stop pretending we know people and let people just express themselves. And every piece of them that we discover along the way is just one piece in a larger, jumbled puzzle of life that is constantly changing. One minute you're playing "pick-up-sticks" and the next second you realize that the game you've been playing has actually been "chess" all along.

Fourth, get to know someone. Its so easy with social media to build passive relationships. No matter how much a person "announces" about their life online, it is just a hyper reality, a pseudo-image, a moment released into the atmosphere (or cyber-sphere). I guarantee that if we start talking to real people, engaging and hanging out with real people, that judgment tendency decreases. We our humbled by our realities and the realities of other people. You no longer are a far away person who can pass judgment on someone else's life. You become a person in someone's life. The lines or standards of "good and bad" may still be the same for you, but you will be unlikely to think, let alone verbalize, the idea that the person has "changed in a bad way". This is because you've discovered the nuances of another person's life. And if they are changing, for whatever reason, in a REALLY "bad way," as a real friend, you can help them through their difficulties.  The solution that you think is most viable may be unrealistic for their reality, but you can be there for them to discover their own solutions along the way.

Fifth, trace your changes. Reflect upon how you've changed over the years. Reflect on whether you think its good or bad. Reflect on how you think others may think it was good or bad. Reflect on what you think your priorities are. Reflect on how those priorities are situation in your reality. And consider whether you truly know yourself. Do you constantly make excuses about yourself? Do you constantly criticize yourself? Do you need to be more relaxed and less self deprecating? Basically, reflect about yourself, how you've change and consider the implications of those changes on who you are and where you want to go in life.

I guess that's all I have to say.

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