Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things are not always as they seem

In my early 20s I went to a birthday party where I saw an attractive woman who glowed when she laughed. I saw her husband's eyes sparkle when he watched her. I saw him drape his arm across her chair and I noticed how he would lightly touch her now and then in a way that seemed so affectionate. She radiant under the attention she received.

I mentioned all of this to my mother who wisely said something along the lines of how things are not always what they seem. She was correct, although at the time I was sure she was wrong. In the natural arrogance of a young woman, I thought that the truth was in my observance of it.

I thought I could see for myself the ways things are.

They ended up divorced. It was a difficult divorce, although that's redundant since there really isn't any other kind.

It was a little surprising to me that my mom knew something. I was so sure she was wrong because she didn't see what I had seen. Much later I realized that she knew things I wasn't privy to.

I guess in some ways I knew even then that what you see is not always what you get. But youth has a certain predictable way of looking at life and youth's truth is one thing not always rooted in actuality.

There are varying degrees of it, of course. There are those eager to learn and those open to unseen possibilities, but there are some who continually hold fast to their version of the truth despite repeated batterings from reality.

One troubling version of youth's truth is self-perception. It tends to be skewed and it tends to hang around well into adult life. I used to say and frankly, still believe, that it's called self esteem for a reason: it's what we think of ourselves. Therefore if we think too little of ourselves, it is we who control those thoughts and can change them.

I know things are not always what they seem.

I know now that although I still believe this, there are underlying issues that can complicate our view. Some are serious issues streaming from abuse, neglect or violence and those must be addressed.

Yet...still...things are not always what they seem.

It may seem insurmountable to change one's self-image, but I believe we all have the power to shift the tide. So take a look at yourself and pick something you like. Focus on it and talk to yourself positively about it for the rest of your life.

You know that long list you can rattle off of things that are wrong with you? Think again.

Things are not always as they seem.


Ryan said...

I like that Jesus loves me and that no matter how much of a screw up I am, He is always in my corner. I could worry about having high self-esteem, but isn't it far better to have high Jesus-esteem? If I esteem Jesus highly, then I don't have to worry about how others perceive me because I can rest in knowing Jesus loves me, and as a Christian, thats really all that matters.

Caron said...

Good to see you again, Ryan! Yes, Jesus is far better. I don't dispute that. I will go so far as to say not enough is said in churches about the connection as you describe it. There are plenty of men, women, youth and children who love Jesus but still have esteem issues, so I stand by my post.

Rambling Woods said...

Very good post.. yes..I wish I had my wisdom to avoid making some of the mistakes I made when I was younger.. but they were character building.. well.. I tell myself they were anyway...