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How Past Perceptions Affect Future Encounters

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An old man sat outside the walls of a great city. When travelers approached, they would ask the old man, “What kind of people live in this city?” The old man would answer, “What kind of people live in the place where you came from?” If the travelers answered, “Only bad people live in the place where we came from,” the old man would reply, “Continue on; you will find only bad people here.”

But if the travelers answered, “Good people live in the place where we came from,” then the old man would say, “Enter, for here too, you will find only good people.” ~Author unknown


I’ve always been fascinated by the patterns unfolding in people’s lives. Although most encounters appear accidental, the unique individuals we attract into our world are often the catalysts of a change, or are able to facilitate a deeper understanding of ourselves. 


Our acceptance of the world is largely molded upon our initial caretakers. If, as children, we perceive the people we build bonds with as “good” people, we are more likely to develop satisfactory bonds with others as we move on through life. Since we are “trained” to see the good in others from early on, we tend to focus on the positive side of whoever we meet, and are able to break through their defensive barriers to find their core light. If, on the contrary, what we have been exposed to is negative, we tend to subconsciously replay those relationships with new people in the hope of understanding what went wrong. The new encounters are just a new spin on an old tale. 


It is important to understand that what we perceive as positive or negative in someone might not necessarily reflect reality, but rather it might be the mirrored reflection of a past hurt, or a flashing sign indicating what needs healing within our inner selves.


When we feel the need to lash out at someone, it might be beneficial to stop and wonder why their behavior is upsetting us so much; is this person reflecting a part of our shadow-self we don’t want to face, or even better, is this person triggering an old memory of past hurts? There is a reason why certain people are crossing our path at this time. Their presence in our world—and the awareness they might be a catalyst for—could easily be a blessing in disguise.

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