As do all things in life, the subject I’m about to discuss traces right back to Jane Austen. Jane was the master of the slight nuances and the big, painful realities. She knew that perception was key in relationships – men, women, friends, lovers, families. How we feel with people, our histories, our feuds, our friendships. It’s all perception.

Jane Austen said: What wild imagination one forms, where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken!

A few assumptions, partially overheard conversations and, voila, someone’s pride is hurt, their previous warm feelings are questioned and they want to know – was it all a lie? Is this relationship contrived? A fake? A phony? Have I just been given lip service all this time, or was this real?

Don’t we all want to love and be loved in return? By family, friends and lovers alike. If I was a Beatle I would say, “All We Need is Love.”  See? It’s universal. If a Beatle said it, and writers have written about it for ages, and songs are sung about it ad nauseum, then it simply must be true.

It’s amazing how much human nature just absolutely DOES NOT CHANGE. Read Jane Austen now, in the present, and you’ll see the same interpersonal interactions that still occur today in similar circumstances.

We don’t change.

We don’t evolve our emotions. Daughters feel the same about their mothers and fathers. Parents feel the same about their children. Siblings bicker and love just the same. Jealously, spite, love, passion – the consistency of interpersonal relationships are one of the few constants in our society.

That includes irrational fears and insecurities. We all want to feel superior to some people and quite often we feel inferior to others. We all want to be well thought of and deemed worthy of love and praise. Remember the Bennet girls? Their value based on how they were rated by men and women alike. We’re the same. We judge. We gossip. We struggle to survive with our fragile, delicate little egos intact EVERY SINGLE BLEEPIN’ DAY.

To that end, we allow outside influences to infiltrate our minds. It settles in – reclines the la-z-boy and cracks a beer – and says, hey, this is my home, I’ve been here all along – didn’t you notice? And I’m going to stay. Pretty soon we don’t know which idea was ours and which was born from another place, another influence.

Is this idea me? Is it mine? Does it matter? If someone thought of it, and I like it and want to emulate it, does it matter that it wasn’t MINE first? I like it. It’s a good thought. It’s a good idea. I want to share it.

But at the end of the day the most important question should be – is this the genuine me? Would I naturally do this or am I being persuaded to do so by my own need to feel loved and wanted and admired? Sometimes I think that’s the hardest question of all.

Where do I end and my influences begin? And is there such a thing as plagiarizing a thought?

I just don’t know. We are all such strangely complex creatures yet our overall needs appear to be quite simplistic.

Alas, it’s 1 am and these riddles won’t be resolved tonight. I should have gone to bed an hour ago but I felt absolutely compelled to put my fingers to the keyboard and just throw out these rambling, unanswerable questions. Chalk it up to late-night soul-searching.

Good night, dear friends. Be genuine.

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