Despite not truly understanding myself, I found that I expected the people around me to understand me. I would latch onto nearly anyone who seemed to think they knew me or listened to me. I wasn’t deprived of love and understanding as a child, I grew up in a really loving household with my mom and sister. I had great friends who I am still incredibly close with and who I don’t pretend to be anyone else for to receive their love and acceptance. My problem arose when making new friends or connections. I would meet someone new and think we could be great friends and when that connection failed, I would start be try harder to build it by putting on a persona that they would find more likable.
This expectation led me to make horrible connections with people that would end, when they realized that I was human and not the perfect persona they believed me to be. This wasn’t fair to myself or to the people who would enter and exit my life constantly. First, people shouldn’t enter and exit your life constantly and if something falls apart, then sometimes it wasn’t mean’t to be built. Second, by not being my authentic self all the time I was depriving myself of living my best life and being the best version of myself. It is so much more fulfilling and meaningful to bond with people who truly support you, love you, and understand who you as a person. Accepting mediocre relationships that you will cause you pain or regret later is much more exhausting and costly to the soul and spirit.
It is true. It is really hard to get to know yourself but through meditation, reading, and doing things that make me feel really happy and fulfilled I feel as though I finally know who I am as a person. As for getting to know others, the truth is that you can never truly understand a person. However, as people, we have this awful habit of trying to get into the soul of a person and craving for someone to reach for our own soul. To love someone, is to accept the mystery and to learn as much as that person is comfortable with sharing. People are not puzzles meant to be solved, nor adventures that must be conquered; they are simply a person navigating through their own story. As an author may never reveal the true meaning of their words, a person is not obligated to share every part of themselves to each person they connect with. At the end of the day, there is nothing more rewarding and fulfilling as knowing yourself and what you want out of life. So take time to know yourself; and make sure that you know what you need and give yourself the space to grow into your best self, as well as the space to be imperfect and human.
Tyia Burnett is a writer, activist, and plant-based eater. She has studied politics, film, and anthropology. She enjoys spreading happiness to others, as well as sharing her own experiences in hopes on helping others.