I have a theory that we are our own harshest critic. And I provide myself as exhibit a to serve as supporting evidence. When I look in the mirror, it’s not beauty that I see; instead I begin my laundry list of things I would change, criticisms of what should be different. Awareness of my weaknesses and inabilities seem to outweigh recognition of the talents and abilities I have been equipped with. It’s not a conscious reaction. But it’s there.
The other part of the theory is this: with regards to others, our lens shifts. Instead of focusing on the shortcomings and insecurities, we see the good, the glorious strengths and gifts. We see what they do not see.
Perhaps this is part of the beauty of relationships. In them we find encouragement, support, affirmation. We are reminded that we have something to offer to others, and that our blunders and fears can subside as we allow others into our world. Serving as each others’ eyes, we are able to identify and articulate the good in each other.
Recognizing this, I am indebted to those who trudge alongside me, offering hope, support and a good, stern reality check when necessary. In my times of frustration and defeat, I am thankful for the one who soothingly says to me, “I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.” He reminds me of the things that are good. He steers me away from the destructive criticism and wallowing. He sees in me things that have escaped my focus.
I am confident that some people have been placed in my life specifically to rattle my attention and shatter the scales that have tainted my sight. Whether it be some good ol’ tough love or a more gentle approach, my vision is being broadened by the challenges and insights presented by others. It is not complacency or mere acceptance that I seek; instead it is a more conscientious awareness and holistic evaluation that I am striving to embody, for “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.