Others

Ta. He, she, them, others, it.

We should not define ourselves by how others define us.

You call me by a name. You write to me at a certain address. When you check with the government, you find a history. You say I was born in a certain nation and therefore I must have a certain cultural understanding. You say that I have done business, that I am a citizen, that I am of a certain race, that I am of a certain gender, that I have a family. Therefore, you think these features are me.

You call youself by a name. You give out a certain address. When someone checks with the government, they find a history. You say you were born in a certain nation and therefore you have a certain cultural understanding. You say that you have done business, that you are a citizen, that you are of a certain race, that you are of a certain gender, that you have a family. Therefore, you think these features are yourself.

If you are with Tao, you will not make these mistakes.

Those who follow Tao may put out the appearance of a personality, for the convenience of other people and to be left alone, while inside they are constantly erasing all these things. They have glimpsed the source that is Tao, and they are aware of emptiness., and so they have no use for personal identities. To merge with Tao, that is their only objective.

Deng Ming Dao, Everyday Tao

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I am so often astounded by people who must define themselves by where they live, what they wear, who is in their life or not in their life. I used to make the mistake of thinking that what others thought of me mattered so much that I allowed it to affect who I was, and ended up driving some people away by being too concerned about what they thought of me, or worse, by trying to hard to get them to be who I thought they were. Now, I know that what others think of me is not really all that important. Sure, I’ve made mistakes in my life, huge ones, but if there are people who cannot see past those mistakes and know and love me for who I am, that is their problem. If there are those who want to judge me based on what they think they know about me, that is their problem. Now I know it is best just to let others be themselves, even if the appearances they put out are not those of the person I expected or wanted them to be.

Within myself, I see less and less of such things. These days I notice how much like the flowers I am, or like my dog or my cat, or like the wind or the ocean, far more than I consider myself as being like other people. I’ve seeked to strive to “become” something or other before; now I feel I am becoming myself, and becoming more at one with the world than anything else. I give things away easily, I spend money where I need to or give it to others rather than worrying about “having” money, and, amazingly, there is enough for the things I and my family need, if not always for what we think we want or must have.

Actually, I rather like the person I am becoming.

So what are your goals? Are you trying to become some certain thing or type of person, or just being yourself and allowing yourself to be more a part of life, rather than a show for someone else?