What would you see?

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “I want to meet myself from someone else’s point of view.”  (Converse shoe ad)

It is very difficult for anyone to take an objective look at himself or herself. Every now and then, I’ll see a picture that someone else took of me and maybe posted on social media and it always surprises me that I look like the picture. I know it is m;, but, it is not how I picture myself in my mind. I’m not sure what veil of ego or deception I pull over my eyes when I look in a mirror, but somehow I don’t quite see what the camera saw.

Of more importance than our physical appearance to others, it is the “person” that others see that would be most interesting to understand. Do they see the thoughtful, honest and kind person that I think I am; or, do they see someone different?  Do vestiges of prejudice or racism somehow show through the façade that I may think I am displaying? Do the overt actions that I am taking sufficiently cover the nagging fears or uncertainties that persist in the recesses of my mind? What would I “see” if I could see me from the viewpoint of others?

An interesting observation that I have shared here before is that most people don’t realize how uninviting or even threatening their “at rest” facial appears can be to others.  When we are not overtly trying to smile or even to frown, our faces settle into a relaxed or “at rest” state. Our face sags a bit and our lips droop, sometimes turning into a frown. For many it just looks like we are being serious about something, but for some, our continence takes on a look of anger or disgust. To find to what your at rest face looks like have someone take pictures of you when you are not expecting it and not doing anything in particular. You may be surprised.

Physical appearances aside, the person that others “see” is heavily influenced by things like what you say and how you talk, as well as the thing that you actually do. How differently do you see (judge) people who use good English and can talk in complete sentences verses those who punctuate their conversation with vapid verbal fillers, such as “like” or “you know”. How much more attention do you pay to the words of a person who is able to express themselves well verses those who couch everything they say in slang or vulgarity. What would I see if I were able to listen to myself as others do? Would I be likely to believe what I am hearing, at least accept it as a reasonable, albeit different point of view, or just dismiss it as the ravings of an ignorant person?

While it is impossible to really see yourself as others see you, there is value in pausing every now and then to examine one’s position on matters that are occurring in our lives. We are seldom self-aware enough to really understand what is motivating our actions and decisions unless we take that pause and think about it. As I have opined here in the past, we use a prayer for forgiveness in our church service that asks God for forgiveness for the things that we have done and those that we have left undone. We may be more aware of why we do the things that we do, but less aware of the things that we leave undone for reasons that we just don’t think about. The man begging on the street that I did not stop to help sees the things that I left undone, not the many good things that I may have done.

As you pause and try to understand what is motivating your actions and reactions, you may catch glimpses of what others “see” in you. If you don’t like what you see, it’s time to make changes. See the post, “What to change to make real change”.

I’ll be seeing you.

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