Beginner's Heart

vanity mirrorI’m not (I think…?) a needy person, someone who seeks love and affirmation for everything s/he does. What I do like is when I can just love folks. My folks, of course — not as good w/ the whole hoi polloi. My friends, family, the people I journey with.

Love is a pretty good mirror, actually. My sisters & sons & beloved — as well as various dear friends, family, colleagues…they think I don’t see them as they really are. I’d contend that we rarely see ourselves objectively, as we really are. I’m far better at seeing you clearly than you are.

For instance: I know that my elder son can be judgmental. So can I. And my younger son is occasionally brusque. So is his father. My beloved is impatient (to a fault!). My mother was often moody under stress, my father flamed when angry.

What each of them doesn’t see — and what I do — is their incredible generousity, their commitment to learning, their compassion for underdogs and the less fortunate. How they were patient w/ me when I most needed it, loving as I required it. What my sisters, who are certain I ‘just love them,’ never realise is that they are not their faults. None of us is. That’s where love is the best of mirrors.

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

I’m not blind to faults. They just don’t mean so much, because your faults are outweighed by so many more important things. Are you tight with money (always under-estimating your share of the bill), as one of my friends is? Okay, but far more important is how incredibly giving you are w/ your personal time, your support, and your many skill sets. Do you sometimes blow up when you’re tired? Or forget to email me back in a timely fashion? Or misspell something in a FB post? Well, you also push yourself farther for your friends than almost anyone I know. Ultimately, doesn’t that latter outweigh all the former?

What about the way you take care of your aging parent(s)? The tenderness you show your child(ren)? The stray animals you rescue and help? Self-concept theories say we are what WE see. But we’re so much more than that. Where in this model of self-concept do you include how I see you, any of you whom I love…? Where is there room for your goofy sense of humour, your erudition, your ability to fix a computer by walking in the room?

This is the best part of loving people, in my none-too-humble opinion: mirroring back to them what I see when I look into their faces. So don’t tell me I don’t see you clearly: I ‘just love’ you. Yes. I do. And it gives me far clearer vision than yours.

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