An Open Letter to ‘You’

Dear You:

What are you thinking right now? I have no idea what you’re thinking. But you have no idea what I’m thinking. What is it like being inside your head? I don’t know how to tell you what it’s like to be inside my own head. You are other than myself, and I am other than you. How can I know what it is to be you?

There’s no way for us to know as if we were each other. I don’t what you’ve been through; I don’t know what you’ve done. I don’t how quickly thoughts run through your head; I don’t know how long you reflect on other thoughts. There’s no way for me to see the world through You-colored lenses, but there’s no way for you to see the world through Me-colored lenses.

There’s no way for me to know what it’s like being you. But I mean, there’s an objective reality. Why would I need to know your subjective reality? I should just come to know the objective, right? And there’s no way I could even know your subjective, so why try? Right?

The objective is objective; nothing can change that. But we aren’t conscious of it in the same exact way. We all have that subjective experience of the objective reality. I don’t always agree with you, and you don’t always agree with me. We butt heads; it happens. But must the world remain like that? Can we never know what it means to be you?

I examine all scenarios through my eyes – my eyes that have been fashioned by my experiences, my family, my friends, my pains, my joys, my sufferings, everything in which I have come in contact. You’re the same way, right? There’s a part of me that wants to seek improvement – constant improvement. You want that too, right? But I fail; I’m not perfect. Are you perfect? I don’t want to tell you that you’re not perfect, but I can surely say that I am not. Because I’m not perfect, I can’t expect you to be.

Sometimes you say something, and I don’t react well; sometimes you just set me off. But I know that I can be insensitive too, and what I say sets you off. I have no right to get mad at you. Life can be tough; we sometimes just have those days. Other times, I act like I know you, like I do know exactly what you’re going through. When you try to sympathize with me, I have no right to go off on you. I know you’re just trying to help.

You and I – we’re not that different. Sure, we have different experiences; we get upset over different things; different things bring us joy. But we both have the desire to be happy, to become better, to know what is true. We do what we can to bring us those things. Sometimes we step on toes; sometimes we forget about each other, pushing the other on our way to our goals. We neglect each other sometimes when we should be seeking each other’s help. You do truly desire what’s best for me, and I desire what’s best for you. But I know I don’t always realize that, and I’m sure you don’t always realize it.

I want to know you. I know that Spanish gives us two words for ‘to know’: saber (to know things) and conocer (to know a person). I want to know you (conocer). But I can’t do that if I don’t seek to understand where you come from or where you are. Help me know you. And I will help you come to know me. We can share in this experience. We will know each other, and it will be beautiful. So don’t tear me down when you don’t know me; I won’t tear you down if I don’t know you. Sometimes it will be hard, but it will be worth it.

Can we know each other’s pains, each other’s joys? Can we really know each other’s experiences? Not really. We can do what we can to share in them. But we can’t actually know them. But I want you to step back and think for a second. Think of that raw feeling of pain. That’s what I feel when I’m in pain. Think about that raw emotion of pure happiness. That’s what I feel when something brings me joy. Maybe you cannot know exactly how I feel in every situation, but you know how you feel in those certain moments. And I can seek to do the same. I want to know how you feel, so I can think of my own experiences of joy, pain, etc. When I bring those to mind, I know that, to some greater or lesser degree, that is what you feel.

Sincerely,
Me

P.S. Duc In Altum. Put out into the deep, into the depths of the human person, into the depths of me, and I will put out into your depths. There’s the risk of getting hurt. But in the words of Machiavelli,

“Never was anything great achieved without danger.”