Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life Lesson Learned ...

As friends, family, and regular readers know, I'm the emotional type. As I've shared here before, the standing joke is that I will cry at a well-made commercial for soup. It doesn't take much to overwhelm me.

Last year, when I met with a candidate about doing some work for his campaign, I was so taken with what he had to say about what he wanted to accomplish, I literally got tears in my eyes.

A week later, in a meeting, I was introduced to another person working on his campaign and she said, "Oh, you're the one who cried."

When it comes to keeping my emotions to myself, well, I can't.

A lot of what I know is visceral. Truths reveal themselves to me along with tears. I know I'm on the right track with certain thoughts because they make me cry.

Likewise, emotional blows glance my head but land squarely in my gut.

But after the initial hit, my head takes over and begins to process the goings on.

And the process yields understanding.

My latest bout with reality has reminded me of this: I feel things intensely. I need to remember that most people don't experience emotions on the same level as me.

If our lives were lived in personal vacuums, this aspect of myself would pose no problem. I would go through life, reacting as I do, feeling as I do, doing as I do.

But however alone we may sometimes feel, our lives are not separate. They are all intertwined, some more intensely than others. The key for me is to understand that given my propensity to feel as strongly as I feel – about everything – I must be ever mindful that many others do not.

It is therefore incumbent upon me to remember, in interactions, that what I may feel does not necessarily translate to others. We may seem alike in many ways, but we are in many ways different, too.

This is especially true between men and women. We see the world differently. We approach relationships differently. We connect differently.

We may find someone who seems so similar to ourselves, but the complexities of each of us present many opportunities for misunderstanding to creep in, misunderstandings that diverge below the surface, until one day the chasm yawns to such a width that it is impossible to ignore, and there we are, standing on opposite sides.

And what then? A bridge? Perhaps. Someday. A new connection forged with time.

But for today, separateness. And the process of setting about on the next moments of one's life, every so slightly wiser.

This is how we grow.

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