meaningofstrife

Seeing the best in life's challenges

Can you see me?

on May 19, 2012

When you look at me, what do you see?

Do you mostly see what you want me to be?  What I should be?  Are you scanning for the traits you like?  Are you looking for your missing pieces?  Are you deciding whether you like the package?  Are you focusing on your own opinions?  Are you figuring out who I resemble, so you can put me in a category?  What were you expecting?  Do we have to agree?

Or are you curious?  Are you watching and waiting?  Are you listening?  Are you learning?  Does the joy of discovery make you laugh?   Did I surprise you?  Have you set your own needs and expectations aside, so you can truly focus on understanding who I am?  Do you see me as equal yet different?

We all have reasons for getting to know others better.  We all want friendship, companionship, intimacy, love.  These are legitimate needs, important parts of life.  We are born into a world of people, a world of relationships.  Connections to be celebrated!  What else is there?

But it’s hard to keep our eyes open when our needs get in the way.  Our egos can inflate the importance of those needs, and make us blind.  Then we only see what we want to see.  We ignore or want to change anything that doesn’t fit.  Eventually, the inconsistencies between what we were trying to see, and what really is, will become apparent.  Then we’re back where we started.

How do I want others to see me?  Do I primarily want to be acceptable, a person who can be counted on to do what they should do, to do the “right” thing?  (And what’s my definition of the “right thing?”)  Do I want to please others?  Avoid negative conclusions about me?

No matter how hard I try, I cannot live up to everyone else’s expectations or definition of “the perfect person.”  Because there are too many of those definitions, all different.

What makes matters even worse, is if I continue to grow as a person that means I am going to change and evolve.  Which means I am a moving target.  People with expectations don’t like moving targets, flip floppers.

 

“I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends

A chance to share old memories and play our songs again

When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name,

No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.

You see you can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.” 

Rick Nelson, Garden Party

 

I don’t want to be “like” anyone else.  I just want to be me.  I don’t expect everyone to like me.  And I certainly don’t expect anyone else to be the same as me.

The problem is, that can be a really lonely place.  Almost everyone in the world has opinions about who they want me to be.  There are so many “shoulds.”  Very few people take the time to listen and understand.

Do I have to just learn to live with that loneliness?

Or can I hope that others will look at me as perfectly imperfect, exactly the way I am?


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