people like people like themselves

When I was thinking about starting a blog, my rationale for doing so was based around a feeling of having a head full of knowledge and information and ideas and thoughts and experiences that I wanted to get out. I wanted an outlet for writing creatively, but I also liked the idea that my words might help or inspire or motivate other people. I guess, in a way, I was wanting to connect with other people like me.

I spent a fair amount of time browsing other people’s blogs before I found any that caught my interest. None of the blogs I currently follow have anything to do with health or fitness. The blog posts that really glue my eyes to the screen talk about the stuff under the surface: doubt, fear, self-analysis, self-acceptance (or lack of), sexuality, abuse, failure, relationships, friendships, and just how shit life sometimes is. This is the stuff that really gets me going. The blog I currently enjoy reading the most is written by someone of a different gender, generation, geographic location and sexual orientation than me. I have nothing in common with this person; yet his writing speaks to me in a language I understand: the language of a thoughtful introvert.

They say the sign of a true friendship is one where months or even years can go by with little to no contact, yet when you get together it seems as if no time has gone by since you last met, and there are no feelings of guilt for not keeping in touch or expectations around what you should have accomplished or achieved since last time.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of spending a few days with some people I did a year-long outdoor course with 13 years ago. Some of them I’d caught up with over the years and some I hadn’t, and the range of paths we’d each gone down was vast: from working in the outdoors to running businesses, raising families to working on farms. Yet there was no judgement whatsoever, nobody was better or worse than the next person because of what they had or hadn’t achieved. Mostly we just laughed a lot and reminisced about the good old days of pooing in the bush and wrapping canoes around rocks.

So much of life is about ambition and success. How much money we make, what car we drive, how nice our house is, what new gadgets we own; trying to project an air of success by pushing our successes on others. This isolates people. It doesn’t help people know that they’re not alone, it doesn’t tell people that it’s okay to feel like shit every now and then, and that feeling like shit is part of life and is equally as important as feeling awesome. It’s the shit that defines us more than the successes do. I think so anyway. It’s also reassuring to know that the people we perceive as being successful don’t always see themselves that way.

What is success anyway? I guess it depends on what your goals are. One of my benchmarks for success is waking up early, without an alarm, feeling rested and ready for the day. Whatever happens after that is of lesser importance, but it’s bound to be good. Waking up late, feeling tired and grumpy is usually the precursor to a shit day for me. So you can see, money and material gains aren’t necessarily measures of success in my book.

I’m not really that concerned with how much money you make, but I do want to know about the mettle of your character. I want to know if you treat other people the way you’d like to be treated even if it doesn’t seem to be paying off right now (trust me, give it time and it will). I want to know how you respond to adversity and hardship, not how many properties you own or how expensive your clothes are. I want to know whether you’re willing to address the unresolved stuff in your life, or if you’re pushing it back to the darkest recesses of your mind in the hope that if you ignore it for long enough it’ll go away. I want to know if you learn from your mistakes, or are you continually repeating the same behaviours expecting to get a different outcome.

I think all each of us ever wants is just to be accepted for who we are, and to be comfortable with who that person is. We just want to be liked, by other people, like ourselves.

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2 thoughts on “people like people like themselves

  1. Brilliant – love this. All so true. I think that to keep a healthy balance in life we need to keep addressing the questions raised here, and be bold enough to change our behaviours if they are damaging to ourselves and others.

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