The inability to try and understand others plagues society. No, I didn’t say “like” or “dislike” or any other judgmental word that somehow seems to pour out of us when we are confronted with another opinion, thought, way of life, appearance, or whatever else it is that we don’t know. If we can’t claim it as a part of us, then we immediately are overcome with strong feelings to defend what we do claim as ourselves. This week has seemed to be a learning experience for me in terms of this topic. I was confronted with the topic of polyamory.
Polyamory. The act of loving (intimately, emotionally, but not always sexually) more than one. Genuinely. Truly. And most importantly, with an openness and trusting nature that allows for no walls or coverings from “what happens behind closed doors”.
I may be wrong in a few things, I may not be covering all the serious definitions of this subject, but I get the gist of the whole deal. And I must say, I am in no way a commissioner for this lifestyle. It’s not that I don’t like the fact that your essentially sharing your love with someone else and not growing with one person. It’s not the dismantling of vows that you take for one person and one person alone. It’s not even the perception that your basically given a license to cheat on your spouse but since they know about it, somehow that makes it “okay”. That lifestyle just isn’t for me. After hearing about someone I know who considers themselves to be living this lifestyle, I was ( I admit) a little taken back. Yes, I was immediately judgmental but I didn’t shun the person and create all of my own thoughts about it, digging my claws in and ripping apart their decisions for some reason that was unbeknownst to me. I asked them about it in an effort to understand.
Asking about something is a hard thing to do, especially when you already have preconceived notions about that something in particular. Then, when it goes against what you feel is right for you, which apparently is what everyone else is supposed to follow (?), it’s as if you’ve asked a pack of wolves to release you from the grip of their clenched jaws ; it’s painful, scary…and life just isn’t the same afterward. I’ve got news for you. Life as a configuration, doesn’t revolve around you or them.
Our life – as our claim – is what we make of it. Recently, I have happened across the philosophies of Martin Heidegger and his thoughts about relations and the inauthentic life. Essentially, to live an authentic life (according to Heidegger) we must first realize that although our life has been predicted by the ‘They’ (others) but eventually, we ask ourselves ‘what is our meaning in life?’. We then determine that although the They has dictated our lives before hand, we now have the power to alter the form in which we live our lives. The content of our life is still utterly unchangeable, but the form in which we choose is ours. We…all of us…strangers, friends, acquaintances, haters, family…are all looking to the next relationship of various sorts in an effort to continue building ourselves as individuals. Living an authentic life through understanding.
Living authentically takes practice, it doesn’t just happen. We would be fooling ourselves if we assumed that we become and develop certain virtues and aspects of our beings simply through coincidence. Of course there are certain personality traits that we are born with, biological & genetic factors that connect to our appearances and dispositions, but virtues are developed and thought out. They require fine tuning and mistakes to learn from, experiences and habits that essentially become second nature.
This week has been interesting. It has also been testing. But none-the-less this week has taught me something. It’s taught me that we cannot continue to claim ourselves as the only thing that adds value to our lives. The understanding of others will allow us to practice a more authentic lifestyle, recognizing that we are all connected in some way. Maybe not through evolution, maybe not through cultures or thoughts, but with interaction through our relations. It is what builds us and allows us to become individuals.
Cheers my friends!