Defined by Others

By Scott Shaw

In each of our lives we are in a constant pattern of human interaction. Whether we work in a large facility with hundreds of people or we simply walk down the street, there are people everywhere. …Whether we must formally communicate with people one-on-one or we are locked in a basement staring at the world through a television or the internet, people are all around us. Some of these people we know. Some of these people we know about. Some of these people we have no idea that they even exist but they are there.

In life, as we are forced into human interaction, we must decide how that interaction will take place. Some people are nice — they are self-fulfilled, conscious of their place in this world, and try to make everyone’s life just a little bit better. Others are self-involved, self-loathing, power-trippers, dominate, and/or unthinking. Most people fall somewhere in between of these two extremes. This is the world. These are the people that inhabit it.

As we pass through life other people come to define who we are. In some cases, this is by choice. We like how a person looks, what they say, what they do, and we attempt to follow a similar path as what they living. In other cases, people force their way into our life through anger, violence, or uncaring/unthinking behavior. This is simply the condition of life. These are the people that are here.

The question then arises, if you are a conscious person, walking the path to self-actualization, how do you let other people define who you are? They are out there. You are here. You will be forced to interact with them. What are going to do?

Many people, when they encounter a strong person, an individual with an overwhelming presence, melt once they are in their company. Others, immediately attempt to out-presence them. From this, conflict is given birth to.

Many people when they encounter a passive person, an individual unsure of themselves and non-outgoing, attempt to take advantage of them. Others attempt to guide them to a higher state of self, where they will not be overtaken by the powerful and the dynamic. This is where the student/teacher relationship is given birth to. …But, the teacher is always in the position of authority, however. What is the personal motivation for a person who seeks to become a teacher?

Though the previously discussed example are made up of the more extreme examples of human interaction, who we interact with and how we allow them to define us also taken place on the interpersonal level. What are you thinking about? Is it a person? Why are you thinking about them? Why are you obsessing about them? What do you hope to gain by thinking about them?

In life, how we allow people to define us is more on the level of the mind than it is on the level of the physical. In fact, physical interaction are much more definable. …A person did this. A person said that. From what they did or said we react and from that we can reach an understandable conclusion. On the mind level, however, this becomes much more convoluted as it is only in the personal mind. Therefore, it is only defined by the individual’s mind. And, each person’s mind is formed and defined by an untold number of irrational, unreasonable thoughts. But, as the thoughts, desires, and ideologies are locked into the mind, no one else can peer into them. The mind, and this individualized mindset, is where all of the damnation and the bad deeds done to the world are nourished and harvested. How much are you locked into your mind?

When we live a physical existence, when we are forced to interact and communicate with people on a frequent basis, person-to-person, and not by some less than personal method like on the telephone, internet, or smartphone, we are forced to live the life of the world, in the world. From this, there is little time to find the need to obsess about the meaningless nothings that can come to haunt the individual mind. On the other hand, when a person is left alone much of the time, all they have to do is find a thing or, more than likely, a person to obsess about. From this, be it bad or good, that person comes to define their life.

Why do you want anyone, any other person, to define your life? Why do you want to be like any other person? Why do you want to think about what another person has done or said? Why do you want to do or say what another person has done or said? Why do you want to hold on to personal interactions longer than when they took place? Why do you want to think, obsess, stalk, or imitate another person? Why can’t you be yourself?

In life, we each learn from other people. That is a fact. If we are a conscious individual, we may learn what not to do by watching what they have done. In life, we may see or hear an individual’s negative behavior and what occurs from it and then we may choose to never act or behave in that manner. Also, in life we may observe the reaction when someone does something selfless and giving — expecting nothing in return. From this, we may decide to stop thinking only about ourselves and how we are feeling, in any given moment, and we may enter into a pathway of giving and caring first. Yes, we may have learned this from observing another person — come to understand what is the best way to behave but from there it is we who must make this behavior our own.

Let go of the thinking about others. Thereby, you no longer allow them to define you. Become the most perfect example of YOU and whom you should be.

Be yourself. Don’t be defined by others.

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No part of this article may be used without the expressed permission of Scott Shaw or his representatives.