Through Someone Else’s Eyes
“If I could see what others see
I think I’d be surprised
If I can only see myself
Through someone else’s eyes …”
These are the opening lines of a poem I wrote several years ago. I was inspired to write it for a close friend because I was sick and tired of listening to her tear herself down about everything. And I do mean everything.
From her looks, her body, her mind, her relationships — the list went on and on. I was tired of her negative and deprecating self talk, and I was exhausted from building her up. It was a full time job and it was wearing me down.
Besides, she was a beautiful young woman. She was also smart, funny, tons of fun and the most loyal and devoted friend anyone could ever have. And I thought that if she could only see herself through someone else’s eyes, she might see herself in a different light.
One night, after an excruciatingly painful phone conversation with her, I was unable to sleep. I kept wondering how she would feel about herself if she could see herself through an objective lens. You know, through someone else’s eyes.
The next morning, my creative juices were flowing like a river. I began writing this poem for her, with the hope that it would awaken a sense of self-awareness and perhaps open her eyes about herself, and eventually change her self image.
The words poured out of me and they came straight from my heart. When I finished, I stared at the words that were so powerful and painfully accurate. And, I realized I wasn’t writing about my friend. I was writing about myself. Listening to her beat herself up gave me a unique opportunity to look in the mirror and take a good, hard look at myself.
I had to face the hard, cold fact that I wasn’t much different than my friend. Not only was I just as skilled as she was at beating myself up (and tearing myself down), I had taken this self-deprecation to an art form. I was a master at it, and it was time for me to stop.
That poem gave me an opportunity to step back and look at myself in an objective manner, and boy, was that revealing! Apparently I could use a little bit of that self-awareness as well. And I began working on my internal dialogue.
Anytime I slipped back into that old pattern of negative self talk, I stopped myself and said the words: “Not true. That isn’t you, and you know it.” Eventually my belief system and my self image slowly changed. Life got better, easier and more comfortable. It happened when I stopped beating myself up.
So, take a chance and look at yourself through someone else’s eyes. You just might be surprised at what you see. I know I certainly was.