75/365 When People Are Lessons

I see the best in people. It’s this fact about myself that I find to be one of my best qualities, but also the one that gets me into the most trouble. For the most part, my intuition is spot on. There are very few people in this world that I don’t get along with, or who I don’t have the ability to converse with openly. When I meet people I see endless possibilities, and can find the redeeming qualities that exist underneath the surface. Most people don’t want to take the time to gain understanding, but I like to excavate a person’s layers in order to comprehend their story. For the sake of greater understanding I believe in second chances, maybe even more. Of course you have to learn when to draw your line in the sand, how to create boundaries but I’ve never been good at that. There are some lessons you have to learn the hard way, and there are some people who have to teach them to you.

My role in life is to be the cheerleader, or to be your own personal hype man. I’m drawn to those who are shy and withdrawn, and I think it has something to do with wanting to see what people are like when you pull them out of their comfort zone. My best friend from high school is a girl who I essentially bullied into being my friend. I was trying to figure out who I was in a very extroverted way, while she spent time making quiet observations and being content with being behind the scenes. To this day she isn’t someone who wants a lot of attention, and so naturally I zoned in on her like a hawk. I gave my attention to her, and the more she pulled away from me the weirder I was.  It all sounds very creepy (at least on my side of the friendship), but we spent the majority of our high school years creating inside jokes and enabling each other to become huge slackers.

In that particular friendship I didn’t have to go through a lot of layers to find something worthwhile. At first, my enthusiasm was a little off putting but eventually we balanced each other out. That relationship taught me that some people last the test of time. You don’t have to be completely alike, and you don’t have to talk to them every day, but they can still be picked up like a familiar book. That’s an easy lesson to learn, one that I’m thankful to have in my life. But life isn’t always about being easy or fair, and so even though I see the best in people it doesn’t always end up being the best relationship for me. This is a lesson that I’ve learned in quite a few romantic encounters.

I’ve dated (or had flings) with guys for all sorts of reasons. It was usually based on some level of physical attraction and fueled by alcohol, but I’ve also liked guys based off humor, shared interests, and either emotional or intellectual connection. The joke is that I’m Rory Gilmore even in my dating life, but the problem is that I’ve had more than one Jess-like character. My ability to see potential and possibilities has led to an overwhelming history of what resembles more like projects than healthy relationships. I spend a lot of time pouring love and care into people, who don’t even love or care about themselves that much.

I’m the hype man to artists who don’t believe in themselves, and the only person who ends up disappointed is me. I tend to believe that if you give people the admiration they deserve, that everyone deserves, then people can grow and change. But some people won’t change, or they have to learn to change on their own terms. I’ve learned to stop expecting people to give things up for me. Instead, I’ve had to learn when to give up on other people.

After my most recent project in the romantic department I kind of woke up. A lesson walked into my life, and now that he has left I understand what I didn’t quite know before. You can love others, but you have to love yourself more. It doesn’t mean that I stop giving people a chance, but I’ve learned to be a tad pickier. You can fill people with love, but there is a part of them that only they will be able to fill, so while it is a blessing to see the best in people they have to learn to see it themselves. Every person you meet provides a lesson, and I hope that I’ve provided some myself.

 


Day Seventy-Five

Feature Image: lewisr1/Flickr

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