I've spent a lot of time reflecting lately. And a lot of time losing touch with those same reflections again, due to whatever emotions I have felt at the time. I guess what that means is that while I was aware I was discovering something new, I wasn't actually taking the time to examine it properly and figure out how it applied to me.
I have this – somewhat naively perhaps – belief that we all go about our lives doing the best we can. For ourselves, for each other and for the rest of the world. Of course, that is not true. We all know there are things we could do better and ways we could improve… and technically SHOULD step up the effort, according to our own values and morals and ethics. Yet we don't. Whether it is taking the time to do the little things for those we love, committing to getting more exercise to keep ourselves healthy, quitting the cigarettes or just generally working a little harder at having a brighter outlook on life… we all have something put on hold that we really want and mean to do.
In everyday life it is so easy to lose track of all these good intentions. They grow to be annoyances … “why am I not doing that?” … “why can't I get my ass in gear” … and the more they are a thorn in the eye to us, the easier they are to push away and ignore. And the easier it is for us to turn to others and remind them of what THEY are not doing right. All under the pretence of wanting to help them, of course. But really, it is ourselves we seek to help. It is our own short-comings we are seeking to remove focus from. And it is our own backs we want the pressure taken off.
Sometimes, it is hard to accept that we are not perfect. And even more so that others aren't either. Because they should be! They should treat us right and with respect and consideration and just generally be super human, because they claim to care about us so obviously they should never fail in showing us. *raises eye brow* … just like we claim to care about them and never fail to show them??????? As if!!!
The trouble with having high standards for ourselves is that … no, hang on… this is about me personally, and I do not wish to apply it in a general sense. Let's rephrase it… The trouble with ME having high standards for MYself is that they are based on ideals. They are based on what I would like to always be able to do… for myself, for others and with life in general. And because they are ideals they can conflict with reality. I'm not always going to be able to live up to them. It doesn't make me a bad person… but neither is it an excuse to not be aware to cut others the same slack I want them to cut me at times.
It is so hard to see though. So hard to always be aware how we look in the eyes of others. I have been blessed with knowing Someone who reflects back to me far more frequently and insistantly the good sides and qualities I possess. Someone who does not need to hide behind my short-comings to keep standing. I admire that very much, and it is setting a new standard for me. Or maybe “new” is the wrong word… it is confirming a standard I used to have but haven't been upholding for a long time. It is a very good reminder to have around. One I am only now learning to appreciate more fully.
The truth is, I need the eyes of others to rest upon me. I need them to reflect and offer back to me their insight and perception of who and what I am. I need their honesty. And most of all, I need them to frown and stare at me when I do something they do not approve of. Just as much as I need them to grow soft and kind when I do something they DO approve of. I need their awareness to help me understand when I move across lines and boundaries that should not be crossed.
To have the eyes of others resting upon me isn't about attention. It is about being a good custodian of the world they place themselves in for however long it pleases them to keep me a part of it. It is about being welcome and safe with each other. And when they look at me, I want them to see that I care very much how they are… that I care very much that they are comfortable… that it matters to me what they think and see, and that I wish for them to enjoy “the view”, rather than observe it with caution because they never quite know when they may need to retreat from it to protect themselves.
To everyone who has taken the time to look at me and reflect something back, whatever it may have been… whether I have been capable or willing to understand it at the time or not… thank you. It did mean something to me. And it will continue to be important in my life.
(reposted from old blog)