A host of answers come to mind when questioned what the most attractive quality in another person is. For some of us, it’s independence. For others, it’s kindness. Even for some, it’s a kind of relatable cynicism. Whatever it is that you look for with the people you wish to spend time with, we’re universal in our quest at a certain level:
We’re looking for a specific way in which the person sees the world.
What’s important to understand, however, is how we do anything is how we do everything. Our view of others has far less to do with them and much more to do with us. And I’m not alone taking on this view. Chilean novelist and poet Roberto Bolaño asserts,
“People see what they want to see and what people want to see never has anything to do with the truth.”
Lebanese author Ziad K. Abdelnour argues, “Sometimes we try to expose what’s wrong with people, because we can’t handle what’s right about them.” Anaïs Nin, American short-story writer keeps it short and sweet, putting it bluntly,
“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
If we leverage these ideas as a guide, it forces us to do a deep scrub of our own thinking prior to exacting our expectations onto others. When we’re open enough to see the good in someone else, it’s as much of an affirmation of how we’re progressing within ourselves than anything else. Before we piece together what we wish to find in another human being, we want to examine why we want to discover it in the first place — and the correlation of how in touch we are with our own psyche.
Inquiring about the default programming of our own mind can make us a more attractive person. We can call into question the intrinsic beliefs that may not be serving us to the greatest degree. Or worse — may not even be in alignment with what we want the most for our life.
It’s distinct and refreshing to come across people with an empowering and enthusiastic outlook on life. Or maybe it’s not — but if such is the case, it has more to do with us and the lens we’re looking through. We sometimes allow our environments to prime us into blindness of the everlasting gratitude we’re able to access. The childlike wonder and curiosity about something new. The powerful self-identification of knowing the little kid in you never completely departed.
“Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them along the way, in that enchanted place on top of the forest, a little boy and his teddy bear will always be playing.” — A.A. Milne
Sometimes the simpler view is more than enough. We don’t have to overpower our environment. We can acknowledge it and remain grounded in what we wish to remain present to. Heeding Gandhi’s advice, we can be the change we wish to see in the world. We can be what we wish to see in others. And we can love people for where they’re at in their cognition, as we can relate to why they see what they see.
But ultimately, none of it will ever produce the miracles available if we’re through developing ourselves.
Stay humble, my friends.