Folks, including myself, have lots of opinions. Opinions about religion, politics, each other and a myriad of other things. I think what we forget, though, is that there are reasons we feel the way we do about certain things. Sometimes it's about how we were brought up (and I suspect this is most often the case), about our life experiences, sometimes we share the opinions of those we admire, just because we admire them, and so on. It would seem though, that oftentimes the way we perceive others says far more about who we are and how we feel about ourselves, than about that person. For example: If I feel hostile and judgmental toward somebody, it may be less about them deserving it and more about me being a hostile and judgmental person (and I have my moments). We see it all the time in others, but are we willing to look at that aspect of ourselves?
I've met some really cool, very self-aware people. The thing that distinguishes them in my mind is that they are very secure and generally very non-judgmental of others. They know how to take care of themselves, and it makes them great at taking care of others. They are really great at holding their own energy in that they don't need to take it from (or throw it at) others. They are easy to be around, easy to talk to and just pleasant people in general. I would like to be that way someday. The 'security' part is indicative of another layer of perception: Insecure folks tend to live their lives based on how they want to be perceived. I'm not there, thank goodness, but I know what it looks like. They wonder constantly what others think of their appearance, their choices, what they have, etc. They inadvertently live their lives for others, but here's the kicker: Other people don't care that much. They really don't. And if they do, it's only their perception. Having said that, we really have no control of how others perceive us, because it's about THEM, not US. So being insecure and trying to 'people-please' is a complete waste of time. Am I making any sense?
I'm not saying that we shouldn't be conscious of the effect our 'being-ness' has on others. We absolutely should. More important though (as much for myself as anyone) is that we need to understand that our perception of others is just that~our perception~and not necessarily based in reality. It's a tough one. Especially since we are humans, and somewhat prone to 'group-think', and there can be a lot of pressure to conform to certain ways of being and thinking.
I've never been good at that. Even though I'm super-aware of it, it doesn't seem to make me feel differently. Growing up, that was a real chore. I'm okay with it now. Is my perception strange? It certainly may be, but it is what it is. I try to think of what it all means, but being human I always come up short. Sometimes I try very hard to understand people that I can't wrap my brain around. I'm sure I'm one of those people for others. It's not bad, we're all just different. But it means we need to think twice before we judge. It also means that we have every right to define those things that are important to us, and to live according to those desires that we have for ourselves and to not let others make those decisions for us. And I think we have a responsibility to hold ourselves accountable, to not project our crap on other people and to keep learning until we are able to be in the world, holding our own energy and not expecting others to take responsibility for it. Having said that, we also need to understand that though we are individuals, we are not alone in this world. We have a responsibility to care for each other in moments of weakness and to do so without judgement or projecting our own beliefs and expectations on them. It's a tough balancing act, and I love watching those who are good at it do their thing. I'm not one them, but it doesn't mean I can't be or that I won't be someday.
There are no limits to what we choose to do or be. But our own understanding of the world, and subsequently, our perception of it, can be what keeps our lives small and our thinking limited. I forget that, a lot. I'm filled with "Yeah, but..." sometimes, and it's unproductive. The limits are real enough, but they don't have to be permanent. Anything can happen, at any time. Sometimes, wonderful things come out of the blue and surprise us. Expect it.