Today in class we were told to write down a list of people that have impacted our lives. As I wrote down names, I was surprised by some of the names that came to mind…people I haven’t seen or interacted with in years, yet when I think about it they have changed me in some way.
It’s as though we’re made of velcro, and over time as we interact with people they leave things stuck to us…fuzzies and strings and all sorts of things. Theses aren’t literal fuzzies, most likely, but non-tangible things. Maybe phrases you pick up, feelings of happiness or hurt, thoughts and ideas and emotions and all sorts of things. We gather these from people without even realizing it much of the time. It causes me to wonder how much of ME is really ME, and how much of it is stuff I have gleaned from other people.
Is there something WRONG or UNNATURAL about this? I don’t think so. As much as we like to think so sometimes, we are not made to be solitary beings, living life only on our own. We were made to be in relationship with others. (and of course, most importantly, God, but I’ll get to that) From other people we can learn things about ourselves that we would not be able to recognize on our own, because they see us from a different angle. By interacting with people and forming relationships full of trust and love, we can become better people. We pick up things and learn things from those we interact with.
The thing is we can’t only find our identity in other people. Our true source of self must come first and foremost from God, and when we lose hold of that things can get ugly very quickly. It is something I am often not good at. I enjoy being liked by others, which is not a bad thing on its own, but it can be bad when I focus on it too much. God likes and loves me forever and always amen, so if there are some people that don’t like me, that’s probably ok. My identity is not defined in them. It can be shaped by others, but not defined.
Sometimes I get done writing these types of things and wonder if they make any sense at all. Oh well. =)
Til next time…