Friday, February 24, 2012

what do YOU see?

What I see:  The old woman is tired and looking downwards; she has a lot on her mind, and a lot of regrets.  The young woman is aloof and maybe dressed for a party; she hasn't got time for regrets; she's too busy living.

I have been both, and the two ladies are symbolic of two possible interpretations of the truth.

I believe there are two sides to every story, but only one truth.

As a world-traveller, and a homebody too, I have learned it is too easy to stereotype what we see, and actually not see the whole picture.  I believe we could change the world if we understood that things are not always black and white, right or wrong.  If we understood that no one sees things just as we do, it would help us all to accept each other's unique contribution to the world as we know it.

I call myself a life-long learner, but I must guard against arrogance when others show ignorance or immaturity.  My weakness, like Mr. Darcy of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, is that my good opinion, once lost, cannot be restored.  I hate dealing with people who only see things their way, yet I can be guilty of this myself.  I hate arrogance, but I can have a secret snobbery of my own when others show their ignorance of other cultures and the world around them.  I get tired of simplistic thinking and politically correct appeals to the masses, but I do value individuals, even when they haven't experienced what I have.

Perhaps what I am saying is this:  self-awareness cannot happen in a vacuum.  Relationship and connection enable us to better understand, not simply the other person, but rather, ourselves.  "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another," as the Biblical proverb says.

Going back to the two-truths picture:  what I see reflects my own heart, and I interpret it my own way according to my own truth.  I have regrets:  I regret that in the past I did not more often stand up for what I believe; that I did not communicate into situations where I would have been disapproved of or disagreed with earlier in life.  I could have added to the learning of others, even if I was rejected at first, and I could have learned more if I had interacted with people by dealing with tougher issues. 

I think the freer we become, the younger we feel.  So, no more regrets.  It's time to speak my mind, and time to learn from authentic others.  

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Be kind- we are in this together.