The Mirror’s Never Enough

Lately I’ve been thinking that I could cut my own hair if I could just take my head off.

Have you ever thought about the fact that you will never actually see the back of your head with just your eyes? You can use mirrors, or look at pictures, or have someone describe it to you (“I dunno, it’s sort of roundish and hairy?”) but you will never see it yourself. You can’t. You weren’t designed that way.

I’m currently reading Donald Miller’s Scary Close (an excellent book) and he talks about how we become like the people we spend the most time around. Consequently, he decided to be pickier about who he spent his time with.

I’ve heard that concept before, but this time I stopped to think about why it is true. Why do we become like the people around us?

I think it’s because we can’t see ourselves. We can only see the people around us. We were designed to learn by watching. As children, we watch our parents and the people around us, and we do what they do. As adults, we keep learning that way. We don’t even know we are becoming like someone else, because all we can see is the other person. We can’t see ourselves.

Which is why it is absolutely necessary that people tell you what you are like, what you do, and what they see in you.

I experience this in two extremes – from people who have known me for many years and are watching me change, and from people who have only known me a short time and can tell me what I’m like now.

The Professor and I have been friends for a few years now but we’ve never lived in the same place, making our friendship grow differently than the friends I’ve spent cumulative years with. I got to spend 14 hours in a car with her a few weeks ago (the best time for conversations) and she made a few observations about the kind of person that I am that took me by surprise. I don’t see myself in those ways. Of course, it requires some soul-searching to see if she’s right, but I’ve learned that the Professor is usually right about me.

And then there’s Rae, who’s seen every side of me ever shown to the world. (Pray for her.) We were talking about this concept this week, and she told me that I’ve become more like my roommates since moving into the 6021. I believe her, but I have no idea in what ways that is true. She has to tell me for me to know. And I have to be brave enough to listen.

All of this to say, I’m trying to learn to ask the people around me who I am, and what I’m like, and how I’m changing. Because they can see me.

In case you are wondering, this is a terrifying task. But I can’t see myself, and I want to know myself. So I need other people to tell me.

 

Have you ever had someone notice something about you that surprised you?

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