Recently someone was telling me about a friend of hers, and how his heart was closed, wrapped in barbed wire, as she put it. I asked her if what she was saying was indeed true of her friend in this moment… and as she connected with the truth, she realized that in fact his heart had become open and what she was speaking was untrue.
Since that experience, I’ve reflected how we don’t always speak the truth that builds people up. I found myself aware of perceiving people based on the past–and it wasn’t necessarily a form of judgment; it was just that my perception of the person six months ago was no longer true in this moment.
If you imagine a tree growing from a sapling up to a big oak, there are huge shifts that a it undergoes over the course of the seasons and the decades. Its appearance changes, just like its shape and its beauty. As beings we do that: each moment we are different… so it follows that we have to let go of our perceptions and fixed ideas of who people are, because everyone evolves.
I have started to bring a sense of wonderment and curiosity to my interaction with others, whether they are new to my life or long-standing friends. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with what I learn about them and what aspects emerge from them that I might not have noticed before, because my awareness is no longer clouded by expectations or old perceptions of who they are. This has opened up my relationships and my flow through life to be truly more joyful and to make everything a lot more interesting.
The flip side of the coin is also letting go of our personal past and the stories we tell ourselves about it. If you pay attention to the things that you’re believing, experiencing, verbalizing and thinking, you realize that thoughts are very powerful. If we’re reinforcing our limitation by telling ourselves that nobody supports us, or certain things are always hard, we’re doing to ourselves the same thing we do to others (judge them by their past) and getting stuck on that idea of the past. If we can let those experiences go, heal them and transform our thinking, we can actually come to each moment clear and free to really experience the expansiveness, wonder and joy of that moment. This doesn’t mean that we don’t acknowledge what has come before, because it’s important to do that; it just means that the present moment doesn’t have to be filtered through the cloudiness that our past experience would impose on us.
We are not meant to get stuck in our experiences; we are meant to move through past and beyond them.
In releasing your expectations of others and of yourself, in choosing to speak with truth and with light to build people up (and to build yourself up), you can interact with others and the present moment with the curiosity to see what aspects you can witness and what may be revealed. And you (and they) have a chance to bring a fullness to the interaction that you might otherwise not have noticed.