If I could give each person just one gift, it would be the gift of being able to truly see themselves through the eyes of the people around them. It would be a sobering gift, for sure. And it would require a great deal of humility and stabilizing self-talk to be able to handle the truth, but man would that change everything!!
Some of us would see our awesomeness. Some of us would see our selfishness. We might see our greed, our lust, our addictions. We might see our mean, cutting words or no words at all as we struggle with the ability to do intimacy. We might see that we make promises we can’t keep. We might see that we are the common denominator in many of the problems in our lives – and maybe even see that we are the only one who doesn’t see it! We might see that we are addictive and use substances, people, work, or just plain busyness to kill our pain. We would probably see that the very thing we are complaining about in someone else is also something that we do ourselves.
Whatever it is, my wish is that we could see ourselves the way that we really are – and learn to love ourselves. I don’t mean love ourselves by loving what’s not good about us, but love ourselves by understanding all aspects of ourselves – good and bad – just the way that we are. We would be able to cherish the good parts of ourselves, and strive to improve the not-so-good parts of ourselves.
So why is it that this would be the gift I would choose? I believe that you cannot truly be free until you see yourself fully and completely – and humbly. I don’t even think we can find true happiness as long as we are trying to deny or hide the not-so-good parts of ourselves. We all want to see the good side. That part we usually accept readily. Seeing the not-so-glamorous or, let’s just be real here, the downright dirty, sinful side of ourselves is pretty ugly sometimes. None of us wants that to be true, so we reject it and draw attention to the pretty side instead – even to ourselves. Living in that place of shame and denial is a prison cell that we have locked ourselves into. The only way to free yourself is to see you for who you are and then decide if there is anything you want to change or not.
So if you want what I consider to be the greatest gift, you are going to have to look. Look at what your spouse has complained about. Look at what your reviews at work have said. What have you argued about with your friends? What are sensitive topics for you? Are you too prickly and argumentative? Or maybe you don’t have any opinions at all because you are too eager to please everyone around you. Then you get mad because you feel controlled. Maybe you don’t get outwardly angry, but perhaps your head is full of venomous thoughts about other people. Maybe you manipulate other people or make jokes at their expense so that you get the glory of making everyone laugh. Perhaps you have a victim mentality and attack those around you for not meeting your expectations (which you probably didn’t voice). Maybe you lash out at the very people you want to come close to you.
If you are unwilling to look and see what might be true about yourself, there is no way you will develop that part of your character and you will never be fully free. The world has been trying to show it to you. Do you have the courage to look? It could be the greatest gift you can give yourself!