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What Makes You, You? January 15, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People.

Rik posted a piece of poetic prose yesterday . . . Imperfect Knowledge.

Reading it, reminded me of all the time I’ve spent in my life trying to understand where others were coming from.

Without making much progress.

Why did I think it was so important to understand what made other people tick?

I’m not sure.

Maybe I wanted to be in a position to predict their future behavior . . . to lessen the uncertainty in my life.

Maybe I wanted to figure out where they “went wrong”  so I could help them get back on track and get all their “ducks in a row.”


The Ego is like that.  It believes it should not only mind its own business, it should mind everyone else’s business as well.

I realize now that trying to understand others is probably not a good use of the limited time we have here.  We can never hope to fully understand another or to have them fully understand us.

We have as many reputations as we have acquaintances . . . and NONE is accurate.  Not only is their perspective limited, they are viewing us through  the “clouded lens” of their own experiences.  As a result, the impressions others hold of us have more to do with who they are than with who we are.

We see the world behind our eyes. 

Instead of expending untold energy trying to figure out how to get inside someone else’s head, perhaps we should get to know who we are.

Look deep . . . the answers lie within.

Ahh . . .that’s better!

What say you?

Related posts: Know Thyself ~ The Oracle at Delphi * We are NOT the Labels we Wear * Absolutes (Red Awakening)


1. Cat Forsley - January 15, 2012

Beautiful writing —- from my experience – and i have been so misunderstood for so many reasons – it’s funny ! i shrug it off and say – I KNOW MY HEART – what it can do – not do – “To thine thyself be True ..” Dear Old Shakespeare was right on –
When you know You …..
The other stuff comes naturally – and “I AM ” A PRETTY BIG STATEMENT _ SORRY _ MY CAPS LOCK JUST GOT STUCK >>>LOL anyways great post – i have to reboot this computer now ….. Powerful post – energy wise ! Haywire COMPUTER NOW – ZAP ZAP xo Cat

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Thanks, Cat. Maybe we want to understand others so that we are in a better position to substitute OUR judgment for theirs.

We are the only expert on our life . . . because we are the only one who has walked in OUR shoes.

Cat Forsley - January 15, 2012

and to keep our own “shoes” on and walk our own path -with empathy and kindness —- then that leads to a less judgemental environment –
for the person whom wears the shoes 🙂

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Kindness is key! Thanks, Cat.

2. Ruth - January 15, 2012

Why did I think it was so important to understand what made other people tick? – Indeed, and some of us waste a lot of time trying to figure out what makes us tick as well… when we could be just, well, living. 😀

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

I am interested in knowing who I AM . . . here, now. But I no longer spend time trying to figure out who I WAS back in high school, or college, or even while practicing law.

Analyzing who we once were is a bit like trying to chase individual droplets of water over the dam. 😉

3. Patricia - January 15, 2012

“The Ego is like that. It believes that it should not only mind its own business . . . but it should mind everyone else’s business as well.”

Once we realize that the only “business” we should mind in is our own life is so much less complicated and so much more enjoyable. But for some of us it takes a while to learn the lesson.

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

I need constant reminders to mind my own business.

My Ego likes to be “helpful” and offer up well-meant (but misguided) advice to friends, relatives, casual acquaintances, and even strangers. And I’ve noted the same tendency in others . . . so I know I’m not alone. 😉

4. Crowing Crone Joss - January 15, 2012

definitely. To learn to honour and respect the journey of someone else -whether it makes sense to us or not is of no matter – and to tend to our own journey. Therein lies the path of peace, methinks.

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

We tend to think that we must share “our story” with others . . . so they can understand where we are coming from.

But, even if we spent ALL DAY, EVERY DAY trying to explain who we are to someone else . . . they still wouldn’t be able to step into our shoes to see the world from OUR perspective.

So, why bother? Just be. 😀

5. suzicate - January 15, 2012

As a result, the impressions others hold of us have more to do with who they are than with who we are. -exactly! I remind myself often that it doesn’t matter what others think only how I feel about my own thoughts and actions,,,if I feel I’ve done my best at the close of each day, all is well.

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

That is SUCH a liberating realization, Suzi!

If we know that our actions stem from loving kindness and compassion, it doesn’t matter whether others agree with our assessment or not. We only need to measure up to our own yardstick. 😀

6. Piglet in Portugal - January 15, 2012

We can judge others based on our experiences and beliefs.
A friend whose husband died of cancer within 3 weeks of diagnosis. last March anounced she had found someone and was moving to France. She has a very close marriage.

I was stunned! but why should I be?. she said she is only 62 and did not want to spend the rest of her life alone.

I told her I admired her courage and gave her a hug. Was I right, was she right?

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Good for her!

Anytime we catch ourselves thinking, “Wow! If I were X, I would NEVER do that!” . . . we need to step firmly back into our own shoes. 😉

We cannot effectively evaluate the actions of others using our life experiences and preferences.

7. creatingreciprocity - January 15, 2012

That was a fantastic post, Nancy – maybe, as you said the other day, we should concentrate on just accepting other people and getting to know ourselves. Loved it, thanks.

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Glad you enjoyed, Trish!

When I went to the Alzheimer’s support group on Friday, I was amazed at how quickly the participants started to TELL ME what I SHOULD do.

Instead of listening to “the facts,” they quickly applied a “label” to the situation so they could jump into “FIX THE SITUATION” mode. Then, instead of sharing resources or options that I might want to consider (based on the totality of MY situation), they TOLD me what they would do if they were in my shoes ~ only they aren’t. I am. 😉

And every one of THEIR solutions involved superimposing their FEAR and their GUILT and their CONCERNS on top of mine.

What a waste of time and energy.

8. Joanne - January 15, 2012

That explains everything & works for me better than trying to figure everyone else out… Ahhhh…! That IS better 🙂

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Excellent. I wonder how old I would be if I subtracted from my current age all the time I wasted trying to understand “them” or trying to get them to understand me? 😉

9. sufilight - January 15, 2012

Nancy, we do all create our reality through our perception and that includes how we see ourselves and then project it onto others. The thief thinks everyone is out to steal from him, and a Mother Theresa sees goodness in everyone. I too gave up trying to undertand others. 😉

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Good thoughts, Marie. We do create our own reality.

BTW: Speaking of “the thief” . . . I “borrowed” that last avatar from you. Thanks! 😀

10. kateshrewsday - January 15, 2012

What an incredibly wise piece of writing, Nancy, thank you. I shall be thinking of this all the way through my week.

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Thanks, Kate. I only wish I realized it sooner! I’d have had far more time to contemplate my own place in the world. 😉

11. Pocket Perspectives - January 15, 2012

I’ve spent the whole weekend thinking about these same ideas…well, I’ve spent years thinking about them, but feel like I’m getting more clarity and independence in them. I was just thinking this morning about a paper I had written on a few years ago… (that I was thinking about finding and posting) …a spiral of tiny letters…going from the center to the outside..repeating the phrase… “I don’t know” again and again and again….leading toward the hope of acceptance of not understanding why others do what they do or why things happen the way they do…it’s a huge challenge for me….I’ve tried to transition into working on expanding understanding of myself and just accepting that others are complex….your ideas help a lot Nancy…thank you…. Kathy

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

I love that image, Kathy . . . with the phrase “I don’t know” spiraling ever outward.

We are incredibly complex and unique beings. Sometimes we don’t even know why we do the things we do or like the things we like or think the things we think. Even after 30 years together, BFF still surprises me . . . and I, him.

12. Booksphotographsandartwork - January 15, 2012

It’s so much more fun to mind other people’s business! 🙂

nrhatch - January 15, 2012

Bwahahaha . . . I know just what you mean, Linda. 😉

13. BrainRants - January 15, 2012

I say: I make me. And no other. Aaah, that’s awesome.

nrhatch - January 16, 2012

You. Are. Awesome.

14. viviankirkfield - January 15, 2012

Again, Nancy, you blow me away with your calm and peaceful perspective on our existence in the here and now. Compassion and loving kindness says it all, if you ask me. 🙂 My husband is always trying to “get his head around” what someone else does or says so that he can understand it. I think I just accept it as what they did or said…I would probably never really understand it…because I am not them. But I do read him some of your posts…he loves them and has great respect and admiration for what and how you write. 🙂

nrhatch - January 16, 2012

Aww . . . thanks, Vivian! 🙂

Sometimes the underlying motivation peeks out ~ Envy, Greed, Jealousy, Resentment, etc. Other times, we could scratch our heads in perplexity for perpetuity.

Of course, if it’s “bad behavior” . . . usually the Ego is involved. 😉

15. ElizOF - January 16, 2012

That is true… I agree that it is a waste of time to try figuring others out… Anyway, of late, I’m so darn tired to care. TY! 🙂

nrhatch - January 16, 2012

Being too tired to care about what others are doing works to our advantage ~ we see that the world keeps revolving on its axis with or without us monitoring its every movement.

Rest up!

16. bluebee - January 16, 2012

But sometimes the impressions that others hold of us are instructive and help us understand who we are – we shouldn’t shut them out

nrhatch - January 16, 2012

When we LISTEN . . . anything in life can be our guide, including our reputations with others.

But the impressions others have about us are extremely limited in scope ~ since they aren’t with us 24/7.

For example, if I say “No, thanks” to a request to contribute time, energy, or money to THEIR favorite charity . . . they may view me as “uncharitable.” But that view is based on extremely LIMITED information AND they are biased because it’s their FAVORITE charity.

So, take what others think about you with a grain of salt and don’t substitute their opinion for your own.

17. ceceliafutch - January 16, 2012

I really like the video. Seems to be a theme in many posts this week: knowing our selves, being authentic, letting go of the extraneous that belongs to other folks, etc. Synchronicity. 🙂

nrhatch - January 16, 2012

It does seem that way, doesn’t it? I know that Joss highlighted several blog posts about related topics:


Maybe it’s the time of year . . . with everyone looking a bit deeper for the answers within their hearts.

18. Pocket Perspectives - January 16, 2012

Hi Nancy…do you accept blogging awards? (some people don’t) A few days ago, I got offered the HUG award…I think it’s really quite a remarkable award….here’s a copy paste of it ” I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the new Hope Unites Globally HUG Award, because I believe you and your site deserve it. You may find out about the HUG Award at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/. I hope you will receive the award and pass it along to others who you believe also deserve the award.” Nancy, I think that you and your blog really embody what this award is about…so I extend it to you….with deepest sincerity and appreciation…Kathy

nrhatch - January 16, 2012

Thanks, Kathy! I’m not sure how to handle awards on SLTW. I’ve been thinking aobut it this week because I also received awards from Love Out Loud and Naomi.

Initially, I accepted and posted awards on the sidebar. But it started looking like a trophy case. So I took them down.

I read the HUG award guidelines and love the sentiment behind it ~ Hope Unites Globally. I also appreciate your kind words.

I’m going to sleep on it. Thanks!

Pocket Perspectives - January 17, 2012

Hi Nancy, I have a similar reaction…I find it very special to have others offer appreciation, but don’t really feel too comfortable with them along the side. I made them very small on mine, but still I have some concerns…was thinking of putting them down at the bottom with site stats. The “awards” themselves are special….I’m still pondering on it too…Well, just know that it’s fine if you don’t do anything with them…the sentiment behind others caring and having a blog that others appreciate is what’s important.

nrhatch - January 17, 2012

Thanks, Kathy. Still pondering the possibilities.

19. Julie - January 18, 2012

Amazing post Nancy! It’s funny how we spend so much time trying to figure other people out when we barely know our “real/authentic” selves. Time is better spent finding ourselves.

nrhatch - January 18, 2012

I wonder if we spend time trying to figure “them” out . . . to distract ourselves from getting to know our real/authentic selves. .

20. Lynn Fang - January 21, 2012

Oh, I so have this problem! I agree with you – I think we are trying to avoid the hard work of figuring ourselves out, so we go and meddle with other people’s minds. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll stop worrying about everyone else now, and just try to get clear on myself and where I’m coming from.

nrhatch - January 21, 2012

I expect that it is an avoidance mechanism for many people ~ if we’re paying attention to THEM . . . we don’t have time to look at the mirror and see what WE need to change in our own lives.

Good luck!

21. The Nature of Relationships | Spirit Lights The Way - March 24, 2015

[…] posts:  What Makes You, You? * Torn Asunder * Think Like A Man, End Up Without One (1) (Lively […]

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