We all have lies we tell ourselves in order to make it through the day. But the trick is making the lies true enough so that we aren't shocked by reality when it sneaks up upon us because no matter how diligent our self-protection, there are always mirrors lurking on the edges, waiting to show us who we really are.

We all experience a disconnection between the view of ourselves which we carry in our heads and the reality of ourselves that others see.

I can't stand to see images of myself, either moving or still, and even hearing my voice on the answering machine makes me cringe. I know that my experience of watching or hearing myself is not objective, that I am simultaneously experiencing shock and shame which others do not feel. For them, that is what I sound like, that is what I look like. They do not have a different view of me which is being contested. I tell myself that I fixate on flaws that only I can see, flaws which may not even exist anymore, if they ever existed at all. I maintain a pessimistic self-view in order to never disappoint myself, so that I may be surprised pleasantly when confronted with external reality. And by constantly being aware of my shortcomings, I force myself to work hard and, the truth is that in spite of my low opinion of my talents, I am not used to not achieving a modicum of success. Unfortunately, this means I sometimes take on endeavors which are beyond my abilities and when I am confronted with failure, with my inability to achieve what I attempted, then my negative opinion is confirmed. I question how I could ever have thought otherwise, how I could have been so foolish, why I even tried at all.

So what is real and what is false? How much of my internal vision of myself was crafted at a time when I was much less and much more than I am today? How do I integrate this view from the past which lives inside of me with the reality of the present that lives outside? How do I accept the things I cannot change and accept the times when I fail to fly?


Anonymous said…
When I was a kid, my favorite willow in back had a robin's nest I would clmb up and spy on while the mother robin was away. After the eggs hatched and the chicks grew, some of the siblings flew off right away while some did this: Sit on the clothesline. Fly in circles toward the lawn. Get back on the clothesline. Repeat all day.

They all made it to Mexico that winter and started a thriving vest business.

Popular Posts