Random Musings

Driving from Cheyenne to Fort Collins today and found my mind wandering a bit from here to there about a couple of things. Like what we long for at the core of ourselves; what we cry out for in our very private hearts: I believe that above all things we long to be seen. I think that’s why it is so absolutely fabulous to fall in love – we begin to believe that someone finally sees us, deeply, for who we are – and they like what they see!

The problem, of course, is that we aren’t built to see truly into the heart of another person. We are flawed, and we are individuals who have opinions, and who are so fragile in so many ways.

The first people in our lives who are supposed to “see” us are our parents. I think that in a perfect world, this would happen in such a way that we learn to value ourselves, to “see” ourselves in a real and meaningful way, so that as we grow we are not dependent upon others’ view of us for our sense of value.  Well, none of our parents are perfect in this world so we all have issues we have to work through, but I begin to believe that in a home where chaos is prevelent (like in a home with an alcoholic parent), that special “seeing” gets lost along the way. We don’t learn to see ourselves, to value ourselves, to just be content with who we are. Part of chaos is the random, fluctuating ups and downs, the crisis, and the calm – there is not enough quiet and peace necessary for “seeing” deeply into another person; particularly a child’s heart. So we learn at an early age to doubt ourselves – we find ourselves unable to grasp that spark inside our hearts that makes us worthy of regard from others.

So we punish ourselves, and we wonder why we can’t get what we need from ourselves or from others. We either throw ourselves into becoming perfect enough for someone to love us, or we sell ourselves for the lowest common denominator. Maybe it gets externalized and becomes very visible to others – like alcoholism, drug abuse, or other socially stigmatic problems; maybe it becomes internalized as perfectionism, depression, or workaholism (if that is an actual word) – which ironically enough are usually applauded by society as a whole.

Then miraculously, we grow up and someone falls in love with us. They see our faults and “quirks” and they want us anyway, so we hold on tight and don’t let go. Over a period of time, sometimes short, sometimes long, we realize that they don’t really see us as we need to be seen, and that unexpected joy of falling in love turns to ashes in our hands. Then we have a choice – we either learn to “see” ourselves and find our own value, or we give up in despair. The sad reality is that we often don’t have the capability of “seeing” our spouse the way they need to be seen either. Both parties can end up being hurt, disappointed, and left with the feeling of being found wanting in some fundamental way.

I’m learning to see myself, and to love what I find there inside of me. It is not easy, and it is a long struggle. Jesse, if you are reading this – I see you, my love.