The many faces we wear

by Heena Modi on February 11, 2017

Observations that have left me feeling confused, lost and without hope

How can you be so gentle and yet so harsh?

Why are you assertive at times but weak when it matters?

How can you switch from being talkative and engaging to silent and guarded?

What makes you alternate between being enthusiastic and lifeless?

You can be so kind. What makes you become so mean?

I have experienced your generosity. I don’t understand it when you’re closed and stingy.

You can be overly selfless. Yet I recall feeling despair when you behave selfishly.

How can one person be so considerate and yet so self obsessed?

The lesson

I have often found myself feeling at a loss after noticing the paradoxes in our behaviour, the way we make decisions, the conclusions we form, and the consequences that follow.

The thing is…I am far from perfect, and these things that I notice in others, is a reflection of how I have been, how I might be now, or it could be a sign of what I may become. I am not untouched by these contradictions, nor am I above them.

What to do from now on?

I need to remember that we are driven by different things and we are complex creatures. Thus what may seem clear and obvious, usually isn’t. Some of the things that effect what people say and how they behave include, being in physical pain, feeling scared, grieving, joy, jealousy, hunger, anxiety, location, specific vocabulary, the vibe they get from others and so on. How can I begin to figure out how someone else feels, or why they’re behaving in a certain way? I can’t! Therefore, I mustn’t judge.

I need to find a way to remain untouched, equanimous, compassionate, and witness what’s going on without getting pulled into the temporary dramas that usually come with them.

Emotions and situations change, and before we know it, that person will be wearing a different face, just like I do when things change for me! Reminding myself of this will help me be kind to myself and even kinder to others.






Have you ever been in a situation when someone argued a point so passionately, that you felt they wouldn’t ever budge from that decision? They were so adamant that for one minute, you wouldn’t even entertain the possibility that they would change their mind. They were so convincing that you thought their behaviour would be firmly based on this point of view and that nobody would ever witness them doing anything contrary to what they’d said.

You get the point…

But one day, they did just that! I am one of those people!

How could they have said all of that and then changed their mind?

I recall being in a very different place until recently, and I’m so glad it’s changed!

I remember a family member telling me that nobody should buy washer dryers, for a number of reasons. They were so anti-washer dryers, I was shocked to later find that they owned one.

I recall witnessing one person feeling offended when her brother put dishes in the dishwasher after rinsing them. She argued with him saying that he needed to let the dishwasher do some work, otherwise he was wasting water, energy, time and it made using the dishwasher pointless. He was adamant that the dishwasher wouldn’t cope with dirty dishes, and that it would breakdown if he did what she did. He now does the same!

I remember being told that this new mobile phone network was amazing, so I got a SIM and gave up within minutes of ordering it. I somehow ordered too many, there was no phone number or email address to try and cancel them. There were members’ forums, but it didn’t sit right with me at all! Anyone who asked me for my opinion on networks, clearly heard that I wouldn’t recommend this one if they wanted to have the ability to speak with a human to sort things out. Guess what? Yesterday I ordered a SIM from that same company!

Another occasion that springs to mind is when a few of us went out to dinner. A couple of the people in the group started quoting statistics about the benefits of going vegetarian. They were sharing information about the environment, health, animals and more. I don’t even think anyone had asked them. Either way, once they started, they didn’t let up. Those same people are no longer vegetarian.

What made them eat their own words?

In scenario one, they moved into a home which didn’t have enough space for a separate washing machine and dryer so they purchased a washer dryer.

In the second example, he got into a relationship with someone who explained the technology behind dishwashers, and how they are designed to cope with bits of food. He accepted this and started putting the dirty dishes in without rinsing them and never looked back!

In the third example, we moved home and my phone went from having fabulous reception, to very patchy network coverage. EE and Three aren’t much better so I’ve now signed up with the ‘non-human’ network! The tariff is good, the cost isn’t bad, and if I need help with anything I can ask my hubby Suraj, as he’s with them already.

The final example is a bit tricky. These individuals are quite fickle, so even though they may seem to have a firm belief and appear to be driven and passionate about it; it doesn’t last long. It’s just the way they are.

Should I ever expect anyone to mean what they say?

This may seem a bit daft, but I’ve found that it is easier, safer, compassionate and realistic to accept what people say in the moment that they say it, but realise that things change, and how they feel, or what they do, may differ as a result.

It isn’t that nobody ever means what they say.
It isn’t that nobody sticks to what they’ve said.
It isn’t that people shouldn’t speak unless they know that they firmly mean something and won’t ever change their mind.

Nothing is permanent. How we feel, what we have, what we don’t have, the things we need, the things we can do without, who we look up to, who we clash with, and more. Things change all the time, but we don’t have to be affected by any of these things. We can strive to be the witness, to be equanimous, to be untouched by the ever changing world which is ‘outside ‘of us. We can keep an eye on, and control what’s within us. We can strive to ensure that nothing and nobody affects our peace of mind. I have been told that, if we master that, everything will be smooth and full of joy.

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