0245 in the morning and wide awake…I’ve had something on my mind for a little over a month now, and for some reason now seems like the perfect time to write.
About 10 years ago, I remember being in the back of my roommate’s car. We were driving home after hanging out with some friends, and we were stopped at a traffic signal. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I remember I burst into tears and shared that I just wanted to be able to see people the way God saw them. I wanted to see beyond the superficial, the unattractive, and the socially unaccepted. I wanted to be able to see into the core of a person…and to love their true version. Little did I know that prayer was only the gateway to a deeper lesson.
One of the scariest things in life is to let someone get to know the real version of yourself. Isn’t that why falling in love and staying in love is so hard? You fall in love with a version of a person – a person that is attractive, a person that is impressive, a person that – from the looks of it – is successful and their life seems to be headed in an exciting direction. But what if that same person has a hidden addiction, a yet unknown disease, a difficult past, an obsession, or a deeply rooted insecurity? I don’t know if I speak for all women, but I think many would say that our deepest fear about falling in love is if the person who went to bed next to us woke up one morning and decide they no longer liked what they saw when they opened their eyes.
It’s so difficult to reveal our true selves to others. That’s likely why most of us choose not to. We feign happiness, we mask our insecurities, we busy ourselves to try and keep others – and even ourselves – distracted from coming to terms with who we truly are.
But what if someone actually wanted to see all that? They weren’t afraid of the dirt, the secrets, or the ugly parts. They were able to see beyond those aspects – for they are just aspects – and recognize the ugly parts don’t make up the whole person.
I know we live in a world that tells us to be tough, to not take anyone’s fill in the blank, and to not let anyone pressure you into being someone that you aren’t. That’s what is so dangerous about seeing someone as they are, knowing they are flawed, insecure, afraid, selfish, or broken. You can take seeing the best in someone too far. I’ve made that mistake many, many, many times over. For some reason, those who see the best in someone also feel compelled to fix. You want to somehow draw more of what you see in that person out to the forefront. You invest heavily into trying to make that person see what you see. In doing so you go too far. You abuse the gift. And often times your effort turns into an expectation. Multiple expectations for that matter. You expect that person to actually change. And sometimes you even make the mistake of believing that person will see the best in you too. By making these mistakes you open yourself up to painful, nay excruciating, outcomes.
But that’s not what the gift is.
Many of you might know the Marianne Williamson quote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I understand what Ms. Williamson is saying, but I honestly think she missed it by just a small margin. I don’t think we are afraid of our light or afraid to shine so that others do not feel insecure. I think we are afraid that our darkness will negate our light. I think we are afraid others will reject what we have to offer. We are afraid that if we reveal our true nature to the world, the world will reject us as a hypocrite, a liar, or a fake. Because that’s what the world, especially in a viral era, is good at doing. But I agree with the latter part of her quote. If we discover our inner light, and if we dared to shine – and persist in shining – we could help inspire others to do the same.
The truth is, I love seeing the best in people. It has taken me the better part of a decade to do so without going too far, and I still don’t always get it right. Photography has been a safe way to practice. It is just one way to see into the core of a person and shine some light on it so that others might recognize it too. And even if they don’t, that doesn’t mean I have to stop seeing it.
1 thought on “Give Me Eyes to See”
The gift can be a blessing and a curse…when you have the ability to see people for who they truly are…sometimes the truth can be beautiful and other times very unnerving. Be careful the gift does not change who you are…