I have a theory. You’ll never find happiness and fulfillment if you don’t know who you really are. You may be married to an amazing person, raising good kids, working a decent job, able to have time to relax and pursue other interests… but if you don’t really know yourself, you’ll always hunger.
Our physical bodies have this amazing capacity to know what they lack. That’s why we have an appetite. You may suddenly crave fresh fruit, or fish, or a cheeseburger. And you may think, “ah, I’m hungry” and eat potato chips or a handful of vegetables or a couple of chocolates from your snack drawer. Yet, you will continue to crave, even when your tummy is full. Why? Because you don’t really understand what your body is hungry for. It may be telling you “more vitamins!” or “more fibre!” or “more iron!” and you are filling it up with the wrong things. So even when it has an excess of calories, it still has a lack of the things it needs to be healthy.
Our daily lives are the same. Our soul aches, and from that ache comes greed and jealousy and depression, or exhaustion. We think that the answer is to work harder, to have more, to divorce the spouse that doesn’t content us, to sink money into hobbies that waste time but don’t fulfill. We search and we ache and we feed our days with all of these things, but still go to bed feeling like something is missing.
We don’t really know who we are. Like with our appetite, we lack the ability to listen to our soul and give ourselves the right priorities. If you want to paint a painting that reflects your spirit and you settle for “practical” scrapbooking, you could spend a fortune in money and time and still feel unfulfilled. If you’re working at a firm because you chose a profession that offers you stability and all your heart wants is to stand on the stage saying “that this too too sullied flesh would melt” (while rocking awesome tights), you’re going to go home every day feeling like a failure no matter how successful your career is. You may be married to an incredible person, with wonderful kids- but if every day you carry wounds you are ignoring and never healing, your relationships will suffer. The answer isn’t finding someone else who abrades you less- it’s dealing with why the abrasions are there. And here’s the secret: your hurts, while perhaps incurred in the process of dealing with one person or another, may not be their fault.
The problem may be a kink in your own spirit which you simply ignore.
So what is the answer to better interpersonal relationships? It’s not know other people better, or to choose better people to know. It’s to know yourself, to heal yourself, to feed yourself the right foods. Once you are strong and happy, you’ll be able to have a great relationship with even the most abrasive of people. Why? Because when you come from a place of strength, your strong heart bleeds happiness into everything you touch- even other people. A weak heart saps energy and turns everything into dust.
So know your heart. Feed it what it needs to be fed. Once that happens, you will be indomitable.