Do you ever wonder how others see you as opposed to how you view yourself? I came upon this idea in my typical way, meaning I overheard a conversation in a coffee shop while trying to escape the confines of my home one day. It got me thinking (ding ding ding, lightbulb moment! Love those.) Most of us can name a ton of awesome qualities about the people we love around us, but when it comes to ourselves it becomes too difficult. I can’t ever see myself that clearly because it is blended too much with my own thoughts and internal struggles, and the truth of myself on a daily basis. It’s not a BAD truth, it’s just the unedited one that only gets to be seen by a few, you know?
I feel as if I put off a different (yet not untrue) version of myself OUT THERE. I smile more, I tend to be helpful and open doors for others and use my manners, always. I probably come off quite well when it comes to strangers, yet I don’t always exude the same niceness to my closer family and friends. And in all honestly, my kids tend to see the worst of me. I wonder sometimes if they see this smily, happy, patient person when we are out and wonder who on earth she is, and how did she take over their mother? I admit, they see the real me, in all ways. The good and the bad (and horrid, sometimes.) The grouchy, impatient, angry, loving, happy, smiling, affectionate, and standoffish me. I guess it’s the daily grind of it all with them. It begins at 7am (or earlier), and runs until bedtime, all day everyday. My “niceness” wears off with them around 4pm, and at that point I may not want to smile and engage and read and sing 8 songs anymore at bedtime. I just want to sit and be done and be alone in my head.
I think that’s what is missing from my outside self. She is seen when it is convenient for her. She smiles, because she is choosing to be out and is willing to engage with others. She takes the time to talk with the grocery store checkout lady, and help an older woman in her car when it’s icy. She shows the better version of herself in the hopes that this balances out the less than optimal truth of life. Because sometimes it’s nice to have the illusion that we are ALL good and not a half and half grab bag of good and bad.
I think the real version of myself is a mix of the two. The real me swings somewhere between the well mannered restaurant goer who tips really well, and the shouting mother who makes her kids cry on Mother’s day. The sister who forgets to send her brother a birthday card, and the one who volunteers at her kids’ school and cherishes the small moments of helping to shape these little minds.
I am all shades of good and bad, all blended together and packaged together in a way that makes me exactly who I am meant to be.
Tell me, how do you think others see you?