That title is not meant to be derogatory in nature, it just seemed like an easy way to segue into this topic of how well we know each other. I am intrigued with the idea that there are several levels we experience as we “get to know” each other.
Unless you are a recluse, you see people every day. Some of them you may see often in places you frequent. Suppose you go to Starbucks frequently (I go almost every day). You probably see several people who also go frequently. You know these people by appearance. You have made certain observations about these people. Approximate age, gender, height, weight, hair color (or lack of hair), attire, and ethnicity have been established in your mind, and from that list of characteristics, you have formed an opinion.
One day you walk up to one of these people, (probably one for whom you have a favorable opinion) and you introduce yourself. Through this brief encounter, you will learn the identity of that person – “name, rank, and serial number.” Even though you know a name, you don’t actually know this person. You have, however, built on your original opinion.
The next time you see this person, you feel a little more comfortable in asking a few questions in order to start filling in the blanks. “Where do you live?” “Are you married?” “Do you have children?” “What does your husband/wife do?” Now you have some facts and can begin to develop a more comprehensive picture in your mind of who this person really is, but you know you have only begun to scratch the surface.
The day finally comes when you sit down at the same table (still in the Starbucks scenario) and have a cup of coffee or a frappuccino together. You talk about all sorts of things happening in your life. The two of you share information about problems at work or home, tough decisions being faced, traumas or catastrophes, likes and dislikes, and positive, happy events. You may even hear about some health issues this person is facing. This information gives you a little more knowledge about what is influencing and shaping this person’s life.
If you are a good listener, and have established yourself as a person who is worthy of this person’s trust, he/she may share with you the emotions resulting from some of these events. You may hear about heartbreak, elation, fear, love, hate, and anger. All of this helps you understand why this person is who he/she is. However, you still “don’t know Jack (or Jill).”
There is still another part of this person. There is private information that may or may not be shared with very close friends, or even spouses. Information that may be extremely hurtful or embarrassing. Information that, when shared, can alter the person’s life completely. This is a part of this person you probably will never know.
Now, we will take an abrupt turn inward, toward knowing ourselves. Inside all of us is the person we really are. Call it our soul, our spirit, our real self, our conscience, or any number of other terms. We probably don’t yet know who this person is, but we want to. This is the person who shows up in our dreams and sends us messages every night. The more we listen to this person, the more we will learn about ourselves.
Think about it. Do you know Jack?