Gathered around me is everyone I have ever known. Each is holding a negative perception of me. I see how very little any of them know me. It seems their reasoning is based on what they need which has nothing to do with whom I truly am. Unfortunately, this is not a shareable idea since each will be quick to defend their correct analysis.
Once I believed them.
Presently, I nod and dismiss all of their ideas of me. Neither do I take the time to show them how those ideas are limited. If I were to try and explain, they would hear me saying, "You do not see - what you think you see." Convinced I cannot face the truth of my flawed self, a defense response would be futile. Confrontation would further inspire their righteousness. They would rush to enlighten me and prove they see clearly.
Understanding that I am the only one who can possibly know my intent, I am busy peeling off the negative comparative coating they have glued to my skin. Husking myself is not easy since most of my life I thought the coating was mine although it pinched something awful.
Happily, I get it now. The many selves formed by the subjective preferences of who enters my life are false. My authentic essence is only available when I understand that the selves others see, as me, are a lie.
You see, those other selves, are ghosts created by someone's needs.
If someone says I am too philosophical, someone needs me to admire their acquired knowledge and stop asking questions. If someone describes me as not a good listener, they need me as an audience. If I am described as being aloof, they need me to pay attention. If I am described as clingy, they need distance. If I am described as boring, they need entertainment. In being labeled lazy, I am not meeting someone's need of a work ethic. In being described anal, I am disturbing someone's need for relaxation.
In fact, I do not exist. Seeing through the expectant hope of how I can satisfy personal needs, they label me as their lack unfulfilled. In not gratifying their impoverishment, I am judged by their unsatisfied craving.
This is also true when I do satisfy their expectations. If I offer admiration for their acquired knowledge, listen and say little, give my full attention or at times, give space or dispel their boredom, I am wonderful.
How do I know this?
Because in investigating why there is conflict in relationships, I learned I was doing the same thing to them.
I am not a ghost born to satisfy your needs. I am an awareness that changes and learns that I am an awareness here to change and learn. You are also not a ghost born to satisfy my needs but an awareness waiting to realize that you are not the self I wish you to be.