I’ve often wondered if it’s considered a blessing or a curse to always see the light in others. It’s a trait I can 100% be confident of carrying, but I’ve never really coined it a positive or negative part of me. Sometimes it means being kind to a total stranger and ending up in the most bizarre conversation. Suddenly I’m hearing about this woman’s love life in the cleaning aisle at Target, or holding up the drive through line at Dunkin’ because of a simple, “How are you?” As if it’s their only chance to experience a genuine interest in another human that day. I’m the person you avoid at the grocery store if you’re in a rush. It’s annoying, I get it. But sometimes it means seeing goodness where others perhaps wouldn’t, and having the opportunity to make someone feel understood. Sometimes it means bringing a person into a room that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
Regardless of whether it’s serving some extraordinary, subliminal justice . . . or just plain crazy – it’s a piece of me. A really big, unavoidable, undeniable, fundamental piece of me. It’s who I am. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know where it came from. The women who came before me: Mom, Gram, Mum Mum – the unapologetic, mighty women of my family. Always befriending the people who need befriending, always forgiving people who never ask for forgiveness, striking up those unnecessary conversations with strangers, always seeing the light, always noticing the good.
I’ve grown up watching them choose to see the good in others, in turn making it habit; and must have genetically contracted the bug, or just drank way too much Kool-Aid to know any better. Whichever it is, I’m not all that sorry to have this blessing and/or curse of somewhat gullible positivity. Because the truth is that all people are beautiful, and it’s up to us to see it. What’s most interesting to me, is that often times the most real, authentic people, are the one’s who don’t see it in themselves.
The teacher who thinks she’s lost her “spark,” or the Mom who believes she’s forgotten who she is. The soon-to-be college grad, who is too scared of the unknowns to trust in themselves and all that they are bound to accomplish. The 6th grader, who gives up on themselves half way through a test. The 20-somethings who question their place in life, or the 40-somethings who question their place in life. The Gram who thinks she’s lost her ability to make the perfect pie. (Trust me, she hasn’t.)
My Mom always says that the people who question themselves and their impact on the world are among the “top 2% of the population.” Exactly what she means by this, I’m not really sure. But I think it has something to do with humility and vulnerability. These raw, real, arguably necessary questions are the very reason I love people. These questions are the light in people. They show sincerity, and a candor that I find magnetic, mostly because I want them to know that they’re wrong.
I sometimes wish I could take my permanent quasi beer-goggles and force them on the person across the table from me. “SEE?! LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE.” Well, that just seems aggressive; but it’s frustrating to see that in fact, some people can’t see. In my experience, the people who are questioning their place in life, the people who continue to fight for that fire in their eyes, or search for something more, the next thing; those are the most beautiful people of all. That’s the way I see you.
I see you getting out of bed every morning and putting your feet on the floor. I see you doing the best you can, even if your best is to ask those self-doubting questions. I see you leaving an impression on every person you encounter, no matter how big or small. I see you vulnerable, full of humility and an unapologetic sense of self. I see you as your totally imperfect self. Because nobody really has it figured out. We’re all just doing our best, we’re all just asking the questions, and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s the way I see it.
Hoping you can be reminded that you are beautiful today, and tomorrow too.