This year, I took a closer look at myself and I was startled by what I saw:
I saw someone new.
Over the past two or three years, I’ve become a better person. I’ve worked on personal flaws and detached from misconceptions I had.
I’ve delved deeper into what inspired this change and I think I’ve found what makes me, and others, grow and become better.
Just like the rest of the world, I’ve had positive and negative encounters throughout my life. I was quite fond of the good ones, but I didn’t like the loss associated with the bad ones. I lost a few best friends, ended relationships with men I truly loved and disagreed with people on many things.
And even though I’m still on good terms with some of these people, crossing paths with them baffled me to a great extent. I wondered why the universe would put this friend, acquaintance, or lover in my life if one of us would end up being hurt—and eventually become separated.
I’ve come to realize that crossing paths with other people is what made me a better person.
Losing them no longer baffled me when I discovered that my personal growth was directly associated with meeting them—in fact, I was quite thankful.
The truth is, we are not born strong, wise or fully prepared for life. We acquire strength, wisdom and awareness through experiences. Experiences change us, and most of them include other people.
Some encounters succeed and others fail. Sometimes we win people, other times we lose them.
It doesn’t matter how good or bad our experiences were. What I’m truly convinced of is that I am who I am thanks to every single person I have crossed paths with.
There were people who genuinely loved me; there were others who broke me and deeply hurt me. There were people who saw every beauty on earth springing from my soul; there were others who faced me with every single flaw I had. Looking back, I can retrace every change these people induced in me.
That being said, becoming better people and working on ourselves is a long and never-ending process.
Investigating my own experiences—and others’—I concluded there are five types of people we likely meet in our life. They are our most important encounters:
1. People who highlight your flaws.
We may thoroughly hate these people at first. Perhaps they’re too honest by nature or their honesty sprang from a hurt we caused.
Our flaws differ. They might reside in our character, personality, speech, actions, or behaviors. Facing them is like rubbing salt into the wound. We might disagree, rage, and become angry at the person who shows us our true colors. It might take us months (sometimes years) to take into account what has been said to us.
Eventually, when our ego no longer runs the show, we can accept the criticism and work on fixing our flaws.
2. People who highlight your beauty.
Meeting these people feels like meeting an angel—often we refuse to believe they’re real. Because it’s hard to be objective when it comes to ourselves. It’s hard to see something beautiful in ourselves.
Then, we meet people who give us a new perspective, who inspect each and every magnificent trait in us that we had never seen before.
People who highlight our beauty boost our self-confidence and strengthen our self-love. Just like we can embrace our faults and work on them, we can finally see the good and embrace it.
3. People who show you your path.
I reckon this is the most powerful and important encounter we can ever have. We’re all destined to walk on a certain path and most of the time, this path is revealed only through others.
The experience that inspires this may be good or it may be bad. We may even lose the person who shows us our path.
The consequences may not be in our favor, but the results can be astonishing. In my case, a toxic relationship I was in three years ago opened the door to where I am today. Despite the fractured parts of the relationship, I am forever thankful to this person for inspiring me to find my way.
4. People who help you understand love.
Love is a baffling subject. We will come up with thousands of conclusions until one person comes along and washes away all the raised question marks. There are different kinds of love, however, there is only that feels right.
We may learn the true meaning of love through a lover or through a friend. Thanks to them, we will approach and practice love differently.
They might stay in our lives or leave. Either way, every person we choose to love after that will benefit from the experience of what that one person taught us.
5. People who break you.
These people will break you, damage you, send you to hell and back. They will make you cry, they will make you angry and sad. They will open every wound within you, and make some fresh ones as well.
Meeting these people feels like payback for past karmic behaviors. Although we end up broken and shattered, we grow into strong, decisive individuals.
The people who break us are the very ones who make us grow. Thanks to them we hit rock bottom and at the same time reach our highest level.
I am thankful for every person I met for I know there’s a little part of me that’s inspired by them. I am the result of what others did to me, and for me.
Embrace every friendship, every relationship, every meeting. Let’s even embrace the faces we meet in train stations and buses, the stories we hear from people in airports, and the people we encounter for only a few minutes. They’re all part of our growth.
Never stop meeting. Never stop growing.