I love watching people and trying to figure out what makes them tick. It’s something I’ve always done. Except when it comes to myself. At least not that deep exploration that really digs way beneath the surface to find that “stuff” we’re all so good at burying.
Because that long, wonderful, illuminating conversation I had recently with a friend has made me curious about myself — and the motivation behind a lot of my choices, decisions and even some of my relationships. And when I say “relationships,” I’m not just referring to the romantic variety. Business relationships count too.
It’s interesting. I’ve never regretted my mistakes. I don’t look for anyone else to blame, I own them and I’m okay with them. Mistakes come with important lessons and as long as we learn those lessons, and don’t repeat them, there’s nothing to regret — at least as far as I’m concerned.
But understanding why we do what we do, why we love who we love, why we have the friends we have, why we want the jobs we want, why we sometimes ignore warning signals even when they are screaming at us — that’s a whole other story.
And that’s the work, the self-examination we usually don’t do, most often because sub-consciously we’re either afraid of what we might find, afraid that it might be too painful or we simply don’t understand that we should.
What I’m realizing though, since that dinner with my friend, is that it’s those answers that are the key to our true selves; and it’s those answers that are the key to moving on, to going forward, to discovering, understanding and fulfilling our purpose.
She (my friend) said many wise, important and thoughtful things that night. But the one point she made that I cannot get out of my mind is this: “Why we are attracted to certain people really has nothing to do with them. It’s all about us, it’s all about our own needs. And that’s what we have to figure out — what our needs are.” What drives us to do the things we do and make the choices we make.
It’s not simple, it’s not easy and it’s not quick. It can take years. Years and years and years. For some it takes a lifetime. But here’s the rub:
Until we figure it out — painful as it may be, scary as it may be — it will just keep happening and we’ll never learn the lesson. We’ll continue to gravitate to the same kind of people, make the same mistakes, do the same damage to ourselves, over and over again. A vicious circle, a cycle, a pattern that can’t and won’t be broken until we peel away all the layers of protective coating and expose whatever it is within us that attracts us to certain individuals.”
That’s the quest. I’m working on it.