the Other –
Last night I was speaking to a group of men and we were discussing the needs men have to develop self-awareness. I told them; “Self-awareness is the ability to look into a mirror and see yourself for who you truly are, the good, the not so good, areas where you excel and places in you which need improving. The ability to know yourself is the first step in understanding what needs to be done to become the man you should be.”
Knowing, accepting and loving yourself is also the key to loving others. Unless we’ve learned to see ourselves; flaws, hang-ups, habits, hurts and love ourselves we will be incapable of truly loving others. Often times our shortcomings and failings cause us to judge ourselves more harshly than we’d ever do to others. We stew in our self-hatred and weaknesses. This corrupts us from the inside out and results in a distorted view of ourselves which bleeds over into the way we see the world and the people in it.
It is only when we accept who we are, all of who we are, and love what we like and don’t like can we be free of a soul that is bitter and barren. Released from the prison which contains our hearts we find that others, like us, are frail and broken. We recognize the same limitations and discover in each other the strength to travel the path of life together.
My wife is busy painting this Memorial Day weekend. The smell of it is filling the house as she finishes up a couple of rooms she’s been working on most of the summer.
When we moved into our little house every wall, except for those in the bedroom, were white and if you know my wife you know that simply won’t do. She is working her way from the front lobby to the back bedroom. She loves color and her essence is in each shade that decorates the once mundane walls. As I’ve watched her cover them I reflect on the truth that she’s also added some paint to my life over the 26+ years we’ve been married. I am certainly tinted with her essence and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Each of us, every day, is painting the canvas of our lives and others. What we do, who we are, doesn’t just adorn our lives, reveals our character and spirit, but bleeds and splatters onto each person to whom we are connected.