The people who trigger, annoy, irritate, excite, enliven, or enlarge you are always more than the label you’ve given them. Irritating, obnoxious, peaceful, narrow, worrier, closed, open, arrogant, loving, content, insecure, anxious, generous … everyone whom you’ve ever burdened with a label is so much more than the ideas you have about them.
The moment you say ‘you are…’, or ‘they are…’, or even ‘I am…’, you’ve developed a relationship with an idea or an opinion, not with a real person. Real people change moment by moment and day by day. We want to be experienced, not labeled.
In order to love them we have to drop the adjectives and descriptions we have for them, and in order to love ourselves we have to shed the costumes we’ve been wearing for so long.
Ideas are wonderful as jumping off places – starting points. They morph into prisons when they become fixed in our minds as truth. When that happens, change becomes something to resist and growth is an impossibility.
So a challenge for you to consider. The next person you run into about whom you’ve developed an opinion — somebody you think you know really, really well — allow yourself to drop your ideas about them, positive or negative. Not easy, and it probably won’t last, but just for a moment try to see what it feels like to just be with someone without confining them to your ideas about them.
Get to know them again today, just as they are, not as you think they are.
When you drop the labels, your clearest and best intentions can serve as much better rudders for your love stories than the labels you’ve clung to for a sense of safety that just doesn’t exist.
That’s truly the only way real love can arise. When you meet the ‘other’, in person, moment by moment experiencing the richness and breadth of who they actually are from a place of vulnerability and relative nakedness. The last time many of us experienced that was when we were children before life handed us things that we just didn’t know how to handle.
Possibly this road to true love is also the essence and epitomy of mindfulness – meeting the ‘other’ exactly as they are, not as you think they are, wish they were, or think they should be.