Over the past year, I've experienced a lot of personal growth. Moving within Toronto and getting new housemates and new friends, to moving around the world, and dramatically shaking up my life, all have contributed to who I am now.
There's been moments where I was confronted and called out to not be as selfish, and in those moments, I swallowed my resistance and admitted it. I noticed an important lesson during this: initially many seek to resist what others are telling them, especially if constructive. We want to save face, protect the image with think we protrude, and the image we think others hold of us, forgetting their filters are different than our own. Embrace who you are, so often, as a society we seem to only desire the positive and actively deny the darkness within.
Darkness and light are two sides of the same coin called your identity. To refuse to acknowledge said inner darkness is active self-denial. The same can be said about life and death, both within, and similarly only one side can be active at a time. Embracing the darkness and death inside allows for better understanding, less self-denial, and a more wholistic appreciation for who you are. How can you work on yourself, if you don't even know your entire self, or, are even aware of your entire self? The good, the wonderful, the bad, the horrible -- explore it all, without darkness there is no light, without death there is no life.
Throughout my self exploration, contemplation, reflection, analysis and experimentation, I've grown in my capability to set definitive standards; something I think many do not have. Now I that have them, it's obvious to put efforts into what I want, what I stand for, who I search for, and equally so, when deciding to stop things. For myself, I value spending time with people who are intense emotionally, conversationally and intellectually. I actively engage people who become comfortable quickly, and are open about their thoughts, feelings and opinions, regardless of others. However, on the flip side, I was/am too overly dismissive of those who aren't as comfortable doing so. I become bored quickly when not very engaged and as such feel there isn't much of an impact made on me.
A new friend, who is as equally intense as I, provided some feedback outlining how my personal growth will come from being more attentive to who those who demonstrate reluctance to open up from the get go. This is true and I will make an effort to do so by asking who, when, where, what and how questions. Not only is using this method good for obtaining a more complete picture of the conversation topic, it allows for a simple yet methodical approach to easing people into higher degrees of self-expression.
There's a fine line between being more attentive with someone who doesn't initially exhibit what I seek, without over committing or building to much expectation they will open to the point I want. This must be balanced to work within the requirements I set for myself and the type of people surrounding me. It's important I allow others to fully emit themselves without creating pre-mature mental images. Each one of us has undergone a lifetime of events which they must process and catalogue for themselves. It's unfair to expect each person to perform within my spectrum of comfort.
Where then is this line? How does one know they're about to breach it? There is no definitive answer. I believe it is about continuing to read body language, making deductions and giving people a chance. The most important component is being grounded in my identity and increasing my acceptance to those whom I make contact with. More than anything, it's about being mindful of what I outline above. Giving the moment a moment to settle and develop will do wonders and, if nothing else, help maintain a slower pace of life, which has proven beneficial.