I get sucked down the social media rabbit hole too easily. Like the dog in the animated film “Up” getting distracted by a squirrel, a bright shiny meme can jerk me into the vortex like a black hole. Sometimes that which crosses my feed, in the vernacular of my younger days, “blows my mind.”
Such was the case from a post from the group, “Empaths, Old Souls & Introverts”, mostly quoted verbatim:
“…the person you think of as ‘yourself’ exists only for you, and even you don’t really know who that is. Every person you meet, have a relationship with, or make eye contact with, creates a version of ‘you’ in their heads. You’re not the same person to your mom, dad, or siblings as you are to your coworkers, neighbors, or friends. There are thousands of different versions of yourself in people’s minds. A ‘you’ exists in each version, and yet your ‘you,’ which you call ‘yourself,’ isn’t really a ‘someone’ at all.”
We are therefore the mash-up of our own perceptions mingled with those of each person who has ever met us. None of us know who we truly, completely, really are; we think we do. We’re closest to our true selves than anyone else, yet still, there are facets of us that are unknown and untested. Each of us has been embarrassed, ashamed, or inspired by actions we took; not knowing we would do so until we did.
Additionally, no matter how briefly, each person who interacts with us creates a story about who they perceive us to be, entirely based on how we look and act, flavored by how well they think they know us. They react to their opinions – not to reality – with behaviors. We, in turn, respond to their reactions, creating a transient, fluid, interwoven, back-and-forth of experiences, thoughts, circumstances, and perceptions of ourselves and others, which is as close to who is the “real you” as possible.
Moreover, the “you” of today is not the same “you” that you will be as tomorrow becomes yesterday, and each of us can certainly attest that the “you” of our past no longer exists.
There are real-world impacts to this esoteric, heady concept.
The thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences of that no-longer-existent “Past you” still retain great control over “Present you,” who determines the actions creating “Future you.” Putting a fine point on it, and bringing it full circle, “Future you,” not yet created, is being generated by “Past you,” who no longer exists, nor ever really did. Therefore, if we desire to change who we wish to be, we must change who we think we were.
As I said, “mind blown.”
As an illustration, when I was younger, I made mistakes. In retrospect, I would not have taken some of the same actions I previously did, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. Those actions created who I was. What I currently think about those behaviors determines my feelings about who I used to be. Should I label “past me” as “stupid,” I will second guess the decisions I make today, creating one version of my future. If, however, I can look with grace and compassion at my younger self, realizing I was doing the best I knew how to do at the time, the actions I choose today will manifest far differently tomorrow than should I be ashamed of who I was.
Certain facets of our past are unchangeable: where and when we were born, family history, and the experiences we have faced. Yet, the way we look at those will affect how we feel about them, softening or hardening our view and confidence of ourselves in the present time, leading to the decisions we make which will create who we are to become.
To create a different “Future you,” ask yourself what can I change. Even if it’s only the perception of who you were, the impact on who you will be will be immediate, significant, and happier.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus, RScP, is the founder of the inspirational Facebook Group, Intentions Affirmations Manifestations. He is leading a series of online personal development workshops, which are focusing on topics such as this column. The next session is on September 3. Find out more by visiting CWIV-Sep3.eventbrite.com or signing up for his newsletter at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com/signup