Home > giving thanks where it's due > how we see each other

how we see each other

The other day, someone made an observation about me that I scoffed at. I believe my eloquent response was, “What? Naaaah.” Later, I thought about it and realized: it was accurate. Then, I sat down and thought about the reason behind it. And you know, I was grateful. Not many people are that kind of honest. Not many people see us as we are (warts and all), and fewer still talk about those flaws.

Here’s the thing: I talk a lot sometimes. Not to everyone. Not indiscriminately. Granted, I can be a clown sometimes – I like to make people laugh. But when I start to let the walls down, ask your advice, and babble about silly things? Well, it means that I like you AND I trust you. In short: it’s a big deal. Because I can count on one hand the number of people who I let in like that.

Part of a good, healthy relationship is forgetting the kittens and rainbows – and being real. Being real isn’t always pretty. Sometimes, it’s messy. Sometimes, it’s morning breath and bad hair. Sometimes, it’s forgetting to take the trash out or saying something stupid (mmm, my foot does NOT taste good). Sometimes, it’s “What am I doing?” or “I feel so much that I can’t breathe.” Being real means telling the truth, even if it isn’t sugarcoated and covered in glitter. There is, of course, a difference between being helpful and honest – and being critical and mean. HUGE difference. Annnnnway….

I appreciate those moments, those things I might not notice about myself, because you can only see your own reflection so clearly. I like to learn. I like to figure out the reasons and the root cause when I can. I love to know what makes other people tick, but it’s nice to understand why *I* do the things I do. Or say the things I say.

The truth is that very few people are brave enough to be that honest. Whenever someone is, it’s like gold. And I cherish it. Because it’s these things that make us BETTER people. It’s those moments that keep us honest.

So, I want to ask you: when’s the last time this happened to you? Has someone made an observation about you that you found enlightening? What was it?

  1. Jessica
    September 19, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Something that I’ve noticed is that a lot of times when people try to give you advice or make a criticism about you, it’s difficult to just recognize it immediately, and rectify it. I had a very close friend a while back who was constantly trying to make me understand certain things that I was doing wrong in my life, or that I could do better. And I had lost my direction, it was very true, but I kept trying to explain to him that I was just doing the logical thing and he kept metaphorically smacking me upside my head trying to get me to see the light. But the problem was, he couldn’t make me see the light. I had to see the light for myself. When I got back from New Zealand, I wrote him even though we hadn’t spoken in a while because I needed to say “I get it now. You tried to tell me, but I had to figure it out for myself. I get it now, and I’m sorry I didn’t listen.”

    • September 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

      I wasn’t talking about advice, but I get what you mean. You have to be open and ready to hear what’s being said. And sometimes, you have to figure it out for yourself. Some truths must be earned; they cannot be given.

  2. Lou
    September 19, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Yes, this happens to me and it usually involves my need to be in control. Work in progress, my friend.

    • September 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

      We are all works in progress. I think, sometimes, that what makes life interesting. We are the change we see in ourselves and in the world.

  3. September 19, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Great post, Ali! Not long ago, I was very humbled by my BFF. She noted something about the way I handled a certain situation. I wasn’t surprised by the observation itself (I realized what I was doing) but was surprised that she *made* the observation. I didn’t think she knew what I was doing or what my motivation was, but she picked up on it… hit the nail on the head, in fact. I was very glad; for her revelation closed the gap in a distance that I had not realized had crept between us.

    • September 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

      It’s funny, when you don’t know someone sees you or what you’re doing. And then, like what happened with you, they reveal that they’re paying attention. I am glad that you two were able to close your gap. That is a happy moment. ❤

  4. September 19, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Enlightening — not really. Accurate, yes, but it stings.

    • September 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

      It’s what we take away from those moments – what they reveal – that matters most. Everything is a learning tool.

  5. September 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I do not always handle criticism well, though I have gotten much better as I have gotten older. However, I do value those times when someone close holds up the mirror to me, causing me to pause and look at my reality. I’ve had a friend point out those things that I recognize about myself but fail to acknowledge (or even flatly deny to myself). Those are the moments where I find strength in my own weakness, where I’m forced to say, “Yes, that’s exactly what you’ve been doing, and this is why you’ve been doing it.”

    • September 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

      Rachel, I hate criticism for criticism’s sake. However, there are some things I don’t want to hear it about, even if it’s constructive. I’m slooooowly working on that, but my base instinct is always reactionary, always a recoil. But at least I see it, now. Thank you for reading, chica!

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