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people are gifts

Learning To See People As People

The title of this article, Learning To See People As People, may seem like a self evident concept. However, there are many that never come to the full understanding of how others can add so much to their lives.

There are people who for whatever reason, are conditioned to never really “see” others, they just know that they’re there and that mechanically they must somehow and for whatever length of time, should fit into their lives, somehow. For some that’s as deep as their self understanding will ever go. This same attitude however can temporarily creep into anyone’s life from time to time and we must be self observant and sensitive enough to sense it lest we miss the gift of the journey.

Society tends to fall, very generally speaking for the specific topic of this article, into three areas:

  • Those that see people as gifts that can add humor, richness, depth, perspective and clarity to their journey in life.
  • Those that see people as stepping stones as they hurry through life toward their own idea of fulfillment.
  • Those that would like to see people as gifts, but if push comes to shove and things don’t seem to work out in the preconceived manner in which they think they should, then those that are met along the way are returned to the status of stepping stones.

The world we live in today is probably little like the one you grew up in.  I’m not talking about the world of your own personal experiences, I’m speaking of the geo/socio/economic/political world we live in. There is a lot of chaos and uncertainty around the globe and as we listen to the evening news, and it takes a toll on us whether we realize it or not.

So much uncertainty is out there and because of this we may find ourselves more concerned about our futures, our financial goals and even our own physical welfare than did those in generations past. Uncertainty does this to people.  In many, it creates a hurried need to get established in a profession, to get well on our way toward a financial plan for our future well being and even possibly to hurry into romantic relationships so that we can feel we have everything in place at a certain  time we think we should have them.time

Frantic thinking can easily cause us to look at those around us, if we really do “see” them at all, as stepping stones on our path toward fulfillment, security and love.  It’s so very easy today to rush past those most important gifts that are all around us. To rush past those that may seem insignificant to our quest, and to ignore the gifts and qualities in them that could’ve added so much to us, simply allows us to arrive at our goal with a vacancy that may not be able to be replaced.  Such an attitude is never a replacement for the depth and texture that others, if we choose to really see them, can add to our lives.

The most valuable gift may arrive in the simplest of packaging.

This is most at work when we’re in the business/professional stage of our lives.  Too many times we feel we must rush, we must hurry and hurry before our “time” is over.  And in doing so we take for granted those that are right in front of us.  If we’re actively engaged in dating, we often settle for the one that will seem just right to those that we mean to impress instead of focusing on our true heart’s desire.

Now, we all from time to time need to make the “right” contacts because we realize in a practical manner that their thoughts and opinions about us are necessary for us to move up to the next stage, let’s say, in business or some other venue.  But hopefully we do so with an understanding that their opinion of us is based on their life’s experience, and that their experiences and opinions should truly matter to us.  However, we must be ever mindful to never simply use another, no matter what the situation, on our ever upward quest, then toss them or their input aside once we think we’ve gotten from them all we can.  If so, we’ve just missed what the process of growth is about and we’ve learned nothing of depth.

Some of us may be at a time in our lives when we feel we should be married before others start to wonder what’s wrong with us.  That leads to seeing a potential partner as merely a list of characteristics that would serve to impress our married friends, families or co-workers. Instead of putting the potential partner and the partnership as number one, we’ve actually been putting only ourselves there.  That is a recipe for much personal damage to both parties.

valueAll around us are real people, gifts just waiting to be opened. People who can truly deepen our earthly experience instead of just hastening it.

In closing, let me illustrate with a scenario that’s happened to us all.  Here we are in our cars, and we’re driving and driving and we come to a stop light. And all of a sudden it dawns us that we’ve no idea how we got there.  In other words we’ve paid very little attention to the drive because we’re on auto-pilot toward our destination, thinking a hundred things and never seeing what is around us, not seeing those that are around us. We’ve all done this and when we stop and think it’s a very eerie feeling. It’s disconcerting to know that you just drove five miles and remember virtually nothing about the drive, the stops and starts and the traffic all around you.

The journey of life and those we meet on the way always have the possibility, if not the probability, of adding a depth and dimension that we too many times hope to be achieved by simply hurrying as fast as we can and arriving at what we feel is our necessary goal.  That’s a lot like the cowboy in the old west, who ran out of the saloon, jumped on his horse and rode off in all directions.

However that’s how many of us spend our lives.

We need to learn to see the world in which we live as one inhabited by people, real people, and that they’re not just a series of steps.  Without this most basic understanding, without slowing down to truly notice those around us, we’ll arrive somewhere for sure, but the drive could’ve been much richer if we’d taken time to see people as people and not just as time we spent.

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