The Hard Truth of Letting People Be Who They Are
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
Like many people, I like learning about myself—and why I am the way I am—through personality tests, including astrology. I’m stunned to discover that, contrary to what I thought, I really am not that good at letting people be who they are.
WARNING: ASTRO-GEEK STUFF BUT VERY COOL: I have some pretty unusual stuff in my astrology chart (posted above with current scary transits and yes, Uranus’ transit over my 12th house stellium of planets in recent years, then ascendant in 2004, then Chiron the Wounded Healer in 2005, and now Sun are definitely bringing out the me who’s been obscured and makes me kinda nervous about the upcoming transit, across Venus…). The unusual stuff includes having my first house Sun (personality) and Chiron on my Ascendant in Pisces opposing my Seventh House Pluto, Psyche (love nature) and Lilith (darker issues)in Virgo with Pluto (the transformer) and Psyche conjunct at almost the same degree (eek!). And both squaring my mid-heaven. Yes, yes, I play with energy. How’d you guess? These positions tend to mean that most of my changes come through relationships (7th house) where Pluto (the transformer) resides conjunct Psyche. The opposition has the effect of pulling me in two directions, lots of power struggles at a younger age and the tendency to attract powerful opposition but not give in the fight (tenacious). I tend to be a reformer and rebuilder, often working with power but never for the sake of power alone, and usually through change and transformation. This is a big part of who I am and my mission in life—change the world and all that—and explains many of my jobs and projects where I’ve literally been the revolutionary and the guinea pig and set new precedents others called too risky. And man, that was fun!
But being the one who takes the arrows by being out front with new processes and weird ideas can be hard at times, too. If I want an easier life, it’s suggested that instead of changing things, specifically if it’s people I want to change, I should just let them be what and who they are.
That part startled me. Because I’ve always thought of myself as someone who lets people be who they are. Downtrodden? Unique? Different from the pack? I’m the most tolerant and even encouraging person you’ve ever met. Be different! Go for it! If you’re a visionary, I’m extremely supportive. I want you to be who you are—so many people seem to be against you and want to hang with the status quo. I don’t want people to change for me. Hmmm, or do I? In my perfect world, we all let people be who they are, and yet I have a really hard time with some people and I really do want to change their minds and change them. I’m limited in the type of people I feel this way about though. One is the religious or political zealot whose one way is the only possible way you can get to heaven or America or wherever you should want to go. I can’t abide narrow-mindedness, so yes, I really don’t want those people to be as they are. I’m surprised but I’ll admit it.
And then there’s the other type of person, too. Or maybe not. It’s really the same mold, just applied at a different level.
The most recent example, after thinking about how I might find life easier if I just let people be who they are, came when I discovered some new posts from a member of another online community where I was viciously attacked when I answered a question several months ago.
And I do mean viciously. It was a personal question based on my own experiences, as I’d stated, and a stranger intruded to tell me that’s not what happened at all in my life and give his opinion on matters he had not witnessed. He made some very bold and very incorrect assumptions. When I took exception, his attack turned extremely personal. Because he decided to attack everything I said after that and people stopped posting out of fear of a similar attack on them, I left the community for one that wasn’t so fearful.
I happened across a new community where he (out of dozens of people who had responded positively) jumped all over another woman who’d asked a question about a personal issue in her career. He made assumptions, some in direct conflict with what she’d stated factually. It was mean, downright cruel, what he said to her. She took exception, reminded him of the facts she’d stated and asked why he assumed what he did, to which he responded with an attack on her appearance and maturity (okay, he’s a psychiatrist, and not the same one who was asking me out for a while but there are some similarities). I noted several other attacks he’d made online and realized that he really enjoys baiting people and then saying, I’m a psychiatrist and therefore I know what you were probably thinking and you don’t. Really.
Ah. So it wasn’t just me, even though I’d not seen him attack anyone before me. It’s just the way he is.
And that’s the hardest part for me in letting people simply be who they are….