Do You See Yourself as Others See You?
If you could see yourself as others see you, would you be surprised? I’d venture a guess that it would be quite different than you see yourself in a number of ways. There are adjectives we’ve heard all our lives from parents friends and lovers, some of them flattering and some we’ve carted around clumsily, like overstuffed luggage with a broken wheel. Why do we deny ownership of the positive qualities bestowed, and draw the fear feeding ones like picnic ants to the watermelon of our souls? And does it ever seem to you that other people don’t do that or is it just me?
Recently I did an interview with Nancy Koontz for the Blacktie Colorado site. The series, called “Have You Met?”, profiles members of Denver’s art, cultural and philanthropic communities, allowing us to get to know one another deeper than the cocktail party or social event allows. Usually I’m the interviewer so this turnabout gave me an opportunity to sit on the other side of the table. I’d been sent a list of questions prior to our ‘sit down’ so I had some time to contemplate my answers and made it a point to dig a little deeper, but what surprised me was my reaction to reading the final post. It was Nancy’s preamble that got me. Reading on the New York subway, I laughed out loud in a relapse of middle-school self-consciousness. “That’s total bullshit” was my first thought, my second… why would I think that?
Is it in our Judeo-Christian culture that ingrains a deep sense of unworthiness within us? Though I was raised without religious ideology, I’ve been on the planet long enough to know that praise is generally bestowed upon good dogs and the Lord. Refusing to allow another’s opinion of or feeling for you into your heart diminishes both giver and receiver.
As the world has become a public shout out we carefully craft and cultivate our online reputation with the real-time self-promotional ticker of social media. Opinions swarm like killer bees, bringing vitriol and condemnation into our daily experience with the blogs, news coverage and unwanted emails flooding our collective inbox. It is no wonder we feel downhearted, for what gets put out into the world the world becomes. So how ’bout a little balance? I’m not talking about posting positive quotes to balance the snark, but taking the time to engage in and embrace the good, starting with self. The introspective tend to take criticism, mull it over in search of its validity and the possibility of self-improvement. How lovely to do the same with praise. So, I have a question for you. How would your life be different if you took all of the good people see in you and reflect about you and accepted it as true?