December 11    

Today's quotation:

If you try to view yourself through the lenses that others offer you, all you will see are distortions; your own light and beauty will become blurred, awkward, and ugly. Your sense of inner beauty has to remain a very private thing.

John O'Donohue
Anam Cara

Today's Meditation:

Oh, my goodness--how much time have I spent in my life wondering and worrying how other people saw me?  How often have I made myself feel miserable because of my imaginings of the ways that other people have seen me?  In many ways, much of my life has been defined by "the lenses that others offer" me, and the distortions have kept me often from making my life into a very special experience.

Because I was so focused on how others saw me, my "own light and beauty" definitely wasn't clearly in focus, wasn't graceful and beautiful.  Rather, it was diminished, not at all as strong as it should have been.  My life was rather limited, mostly because I didn't trust myself, didn't feel that I was worth a whole lot.  I felt, quite honestly, that I wasn't good for anything, or for anyone--of course no one would want to spend time with me if I were so lacking.

Fortunately, I've been able to learn how to see myself through my own eyes, and to trust that view that I have.  I still can't do it all the time and there are moments when I still see myself blurred and awkward, but those times don't happen all that often any more.  And because I'm willing to see myself in positive ways, my life is brighter and more enjoyable; I don't spend time wishing that I lived up to someone else's standards, that I was more like what other people wanted to see than my authentic self.

Other people see only a tiny portion of who you are, so their judgment is necessarily flawed.  They will offer you an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of just who you are, and you're going to make your life much more pleasant if you learn to avoid taking them and their judgments too seriously--it really isn't important to try to conform to someone else's ideas of who you should be, no matter who they are.  They can't know the beauty of your heart and spirit, and you shouldn't give them any power over you or your life by paying attention to their skewed perspective.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things make up your "sense of inner beauty"?

Why do we so often put so much stock in what others think of us?

Why is it so easy for us to discount our own worth?

For further thought:

Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.

Harvey Fierstein

more on identity



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