Do we really see each other?

Girl in rain by Jenn Shallvey 2014.

Girl in rain by Jenn Shallvey 2014.

I see you but do I know you? I may think I do. I quickly surmise from appearance and actions who you are. I see the external, I look for cues. Then I make a judgement  and decision. Yes, I make a judgement. This is the base level of my human existence in a world of others.

On my own I look at myself in the mirror or simply within my own thoughts. I do not see the outside only the inside. I see what no one else sees. I see the truth. I don’t like the truth so I deny it. I don’t like the truth so I hide from it. I don’t like the truth so I run a million miles a way from it.  Why?  Because I am afraid.

So I turn to you instead. I project my fears, worries, concerns and judgements on to you. I see your word as the one at fault not mine. I do it in a flash, a flash of emotional uprising without thought, without regard for the truth.

For there is a truth in you as well that I do not know. I can not see inside of you like you see inside of yourself.

We are both walking around carrying truths that we hide not just from others but from ourselves.

The truth is that within each of us is powerhouse of potential. Within each of us is a person just craving, crying, screaming to be free to express her or him self. Within each of us is a real person who wants acceptance, love and expression.

The truth is that we are each uniquely, individually amazing in our own way even if we can not see evidence.

Yet our world makes it hard to accept others for who they are, does it not? All you have to do is glance at the headlines of the weekly tabloid magazines, catch a glimpse of the latest daily newspaper or listen to a news report. The headlines are at the expense of others. The headlines focus on our mistakes, our flaws, our blunders our human frailty and magnify these exponentially with loudspeakers for all to take note.

So we are forever in a world where to show the flaws or trip up is under a microscope.

What if we stopped focusing so much on what everyone is doing wrong. What if we simply stopped judging and criticising all together? Wouldn’t that be a nicer world? I am not talking get rid of feedback.  We also still need agreed consequences for actions. We still need to know all that can help us on our journey not just the easy stuff.  But what if we looked for what was working, was right and made things work?

Our day would be interesting. We would complain less, not be so readily angered, see others as equals and human beings. It would be a real community.  We would appreciate and value differences not expecting conformity.

Yes, the world would be interesting, maybe even dare I say amazing.

I know it is not easy, we are human after all. I experienced all in the last week. Despite my training, development and self awareness, I let my conscious guard down and succumbed to the rule of my emotional self.  I tested the boundaries of blame and criticism in a few situations. It did not feel good.  In the heat of the moment I chose reaction rather than my more common supportive and balanced way.

In reflection though I see my learning opportunity. I see the window of light. I choose to move forward and apply my learning not crawl in a corner self deprecating.  No I embrace the opportunity and the others stepping in as unsuspecting teachers on my journey.

I accept who I am. I know who I am. I am more than my personality. I am more than what you or anyone else sees, warts and all. So are you.

Where does the judgement, blame and criticism really start? With ourselves. We are usually our own worst enemies in this regard.  How often do you admit to your successes, contribution, strengths achievements? Or how how often do you let yourself celebrate success before moving on? How often do you forgive yourself for letting your emotional self temporarily take over?

Not likely much. For in our society it is about saying how can you be better all the time. Or how can you be as good as so and so over there. Or there is a higher standard why can’t you get to it?  We create the benchmarks that hold people accountable. More importantly we create our own benchmarks no matter how unrealistic they may be. So ultimately I am responsible for myself. And so are you for yourself.  Yet when blame and criticism sneak in we deflect to others.

So it is time to take back personal responsibility. It is time to then accept who we are whether we make mistakes or not. It is time for each of us to commit to learning and growing not hiding and deflecting.

I send this little note out to you with a nudge and reminder. Perhaps it is time to let go of blame and judgement of self. Then maybe we can let go of blame and judgement of others.

Jenn Shallvey