This night rotation has put me into a certain headspace — introspection, extrospection. Luckily, the neurochemicals are lining up and I’m seeing a few things more clearly. Spending an unhealthy amount of time alone, and I’m not too happy about that, but in this conjunction of moments, I’m relearning a few truths about being a human in a human society.
I’m slowly remembering how to not be alone. The rules are buried under the years, but I roll back and pull them up; in the act is a sense of discovery, looking at strangers and acquaintances as opportunities for growth. I’m remembering what I’ve forgotten:
- Friendliness before Friendship.
- Friend before Lover.
- By comforting, you will be comforted.
- By feeding, you will be able to eat.
That first rule, friendliness, I’ve been giving that the slip for years. I’ve come to rely on my caustic bitterness to protect me with a shield of sarcasm and defiant defeatism. That program has done me more disservice than protection. I’m friendly enough to get along great with people I already know (by then they’ve already become accustomed to my grumpy attitude). But what about people I don’t know? I built this wall around myself; lower on the acquaintance side, higher on the stranger side. All this time I’m feeling weary about them not seeing what I have going on inside the wall. Of course they don’t see.
But their ability to see me is not so important; I shouldn’t forget that (it’s a selfish idea, really). First Principles. What do I see in them? What’s going on in their lives? What is their internal state? Is there anything I can do (within reason) to help? Friendliness. As best as I can figure, by becoming invested in others, I gain value. Friendship.
The key is to have compassion. All I have is right now, and people are speaking to be heard. Hear them. People want more of whoever wants them. By paying attention, I will never be bankrupt. Those are the First Principles; everything else grows from there.