Wednesday, June 27, 2018

ode to being other

When you see a picture of yourself, you are judging yourself from the stance of a person who has to deal with being that self, and has a particular standard for who that self is and ought to be. When you see a picture of a friend, you rarely judge it with that harsh of glance, as you have no interior calibration of what the photo ought to look like.

Just so, how odd that we do not get the delight of loving ourselves the way we love others and the way others love us. In fact, perhaps their love for us is more honest, because it is free, it is natural. They enjoy ourselves without being strapped down by the anxieties of being a self. They, in fact, get to enjoy us just in our pure essence, without the blurry barrier of subjective self-reflection upon oneself.

This is not an ode to shallow love, or an ode to surface knowledge, but the beginning of an acknowledgement of the deep location that others' knowledge of us plays in founding, building our hearts.

In fact, Thomas Merton, we are not ourselves by ourself. We cannot truly glimpse our own face without the help of another, and we are unable to see our own beauty clearly. Our identities are handed to us by those who surround us, who seek to see us with eyes free from the anxieties of a self. To be seen by another person is to be seen as a person. And perhaps we are only uncovered fully as people when we are seen, known, and loved by another.

And perhaps we have a leg up on our friends in knowing them. For we get to see them as they are—as they truly are—brilliant, beautiful, and full of life. Ebullient and exuberant, shining with a glory that cannot be stifled by a thousand miles or computer screen. Full of that Steinbeckian soil, which projects good honest truth, deeply felt kindness, and keen perception across written pages or oceans.

No comments:

Post a Comment