Earlier this week I read something that basically said who we REALLY are lies somewhere between who OTHERS think we are and who WE think we are. That got me thinking.
For part one, “others” involves a wide range.
There are people who may be privy to our inner world (e.g. spiritual mentors, counselors, and soul-friendships) who know us in a way few do.
There are people who we have lived with (e.g. family of origin) or live with now (e.g. family nucleus, housemates) who know us in the way of every day actions. And, actions say things words never could.
There are people who know us as in-laws, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and so forth. The further we get from the personal, the easier it is to let others see only what we want them to see.
Mix what all of the “others” above have to say and see what parts are consistent. For example, does that friend from church think you’re the most generous person when your spouse can’t recall the last time you gave him anything but criticism? Would your boss and your child agree on your temperament?
Taken altogether, the common denominators derived from those who have an experience of us can reflect back some of who we really are. It’s worth contemplating.
Then there is part two, who we think we are. In order to be clear on this, we need to move past voices in our head that either berate or inflate us, past the ego that distorts the truth.
Perhaps in quiet reflection we can tap into the knowing, in our bones, that we are precious and have an innate goodness — the deposit of God’s love you might call it. At the same time, in that silent stillness, we can face our flaws and failures — the misuses of our freedoms.
Through a healthy examination of self we can get real about changes we need to make and where we are living well.
When assessed honestly, external feedback and internal awareness can merge to give us a fuller picture of who we really are. Hopefully we like what we see… but, if not, then we’ve at least identified where we need to put our attention next.
May you be inspired!