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Sunday, 26 November 2017

NaBloPoMo 2017: Day 26: Do people change with time or is it our perception that changes?

The other day, I heard two people – let’s call them A and B talking about a third person C.

A: Have you noticed some change in C?

B: Not particularly. Why?

A: He’s kind of ignoring me. He doesn’t reply to my texts and even when I call, he seems to be always in a hurry. Maybe getting that promotion to Manager has gone to his head…

B: Maybe he’s busier now and has less time to respond?

A: No, no… even before, he used to be more interested in talking only when he wanted some help. You know what they say, “It’s not that people change, it’s the mask that falls off!”

Of course, because I wasn’t acquainted with any of these people, I have no information to say if A was correct in his assessment.

But to me, it sounds like several possibilities exist…

1. C is indeed an opportunist (what people in Goa aptly describe as “Kaamaa purti Maamaa”) and has really grown aloof because it does not suit his purpose to spend time talking to A.

2. C has grown busier and with lesser time, he’s choosing his priorities – and talking to A may not be one of them – tough on A but justifiable from C’s point of view.

3. A is secretly jealous of C and looking to find fault with him so he can justify his bad feelings about C.

4. C has always been reserved, but A never noticed because he was busy taking the lead in conversations. So the problem is that A’s initial perception itself was wrong; now that he’s ‘seeing’ C with blinkers off, he notices what he didn’t earlier. But since he can’t accept his error in assessing C, A is finding fault with C.

I’ve seen many people sharing quotes on Facebook in the spirit of what A was feeling….

“People change and often, they become the person they said they will never be.”

“Time flies, people change. You’re not always needed. There are times to move forward and places to let go.”

“Don’t trust people who change their feelings with time. Trust people whose feelings remain the same when your time changes.”

You can see that all these feelings arise mostly from a sense of hurt….hurt pride, to be specific. You thought you were important to someone – and realizing that you aren’t comes as a shock, setting off a chain of emotions right from anger to depression.

I’ve generally noticed that people who are self-sufficient in their emotional needs go through such trauma less frequently than those who depend on others to feel good.

Thankfully, I belong to the former category, so I don’t really know what it feels like for people in the latter category. But I do know that learning to avoid over-attachment to others can be the key to keep away from such heartache.

Overhearing that conversation between A and B reminded me of my own experiences. For example, it’s been months since I spoke to some good friends who earlier used to be very eager to talk. Then there are some people who are very engaged as readers of my writings for some time – then, they seem to drop off the face of the earth. Neither of these gives me any negative feelings about the concerned persons.

For two reasons.

First, I have a kind of detached approach to these things. I’m happy if people want to interact, but it’s not as if that interaction is the only thing that validates me or my writing. Second, and more importantly, I have this belief that ultimately, all is guided by divine will and all happens for the best – we all get the interactions that are best for us at a given point of time.

So, the next time you find someone “ignoring” you, don’t waste your energy or break your heart in the negativity of how they have changed. Instead, trust that the Universe is keeping you away from those interactions because they are not really necessary for you.

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