why do people try to tell us who we are?
i can't emphasize enough how irritating it has been to deal with people who try to tell me who i am, what i like, what i dislike, and which labels best suit me
i suppose i should begin by acknowledging that plenty of people live miserable lives, have had to live while being consumed by their own miserable thoughts, and often project, or displace, their miserable feelings onto other people. i also acknowledge that human beings often fear what is unknown, so assigning labels, traits, and boxes to put people in helps people understand these “unknown” people, which soothes that aforementioned fear.
that mostly answers the question, but it doesn’t remove my curiosity.
i can’t fully comprehend why so many people are seemingly so irritated by not knowing everything about somebody, or why people can sometimes feel so incredibly wronged when they discover something about somebody that doesn’t align with a previous version of who they thought they were. it reminds me of how often people take things personally that were better off, and not even intended to be, taken personally.
to me, these examples are often the reason why somebody then tries to tell me about who i am. they can’t understand my sexuality, so they start guessing the label. they hear one opinion of mine, so they assign me a certain trait or archetype for who i am. they knew me three, five, seven years ago, and assume i am still that exact same person, so they cast me into that box and try to keep me there. when this happens now, i think to myself “maybe this person (who is trying to tell me who i am) is exactly who they were a few years ago, so they’re assuming i did the same thing and never worked on myself or evolved over these last few years, like they did.”
i find this phenomenon to be super weird, and at times, super frustrating.
my personal philosophy is that we will never truly understand or know somebody in totality. i don’t even fully understand or know myself, but i am certain that i am in first place for understanding and knowing myself the best, and always will be.
i think this is why i’ve gotten better and better at taking everything with a grain of salt and not letting other people’s opinions always influence how i feel about myself. before i knew how to do that, though, i was definitely more susceptible to allowing every opinion, label, box, trait, and archetype assigned to me, actually influence how i felt about myself. i would easily become fixated on what labels perfectly fit me, what traits fit me 100% of the time, or what system or concept can explain everything about myself and my life. this is partially how i became fascinated with astrology, personality tests, social media, psychology, philosophy, and sociology. i think what i did is something that a lot of us do, maybe even all of us. maybe that is why people obsess over understanding their birth chart, hire life coaches to help fix their life, read self-help books, take online quizzes, fixate on which labels suit them best, base their identity on being a part of certain groups or organizations, and so on. maybe we have all been obsessed at one point or another to find something that can tell us who we are, what career is perfect, what lifestyle is ideal, or which people we should look for. maybe we all once hoped there was a reasonable answer, or any answer, to our toughest questions — the ones that keep us up at night, the ones that we ruminate over, the ones that lead us to follow certain religions or look down upon others.
maybe we try to tell people who they are because deep down, we want somebody to tell us who we are. maybe we want somebody else to do the heavy lifting and the soul searching that many of us do to try to understand ourselves and our lives.
whatever the reason is for why people try to tell others who they are, i have been doing my own soul searching about who i do that very thing to, why i do it, and how frequently i do it. it has been very eye-opening; i recommend everybody try to do the same.
doing this has taught me more about the values of letting go, embracing uncertainty, loving people/places/things without understanding them in totality, enjoying and appreciating what i do know, worrying less about what i don’t know, and realizing that in this life, i never want to stop learning. and if i think i know everything about people and chase that goal, then what more would there be to learn? why chase that goal when, instead, i could appreciate people as they come, for who they are, and the roles they play in my life? why make it more complicated than that? there is no need.
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