To see ourselves as others see us. Friday June 2, 2017
In "To a Louse" (that is not a predictive text error) Robert Burns pleaded "for some Power to give us the gift to see ourselves as others see us" (apologies to the purist).
Whilst he was pointing out that the lady would lose her airs and poise if she knew there was a louse on her bonnet, for many Moodscope members it may have the opposite effect. So often guilty of denying positives and concentrating on negatives I am surely not alone in ignoring, or at least discounting, praise.
As I turned over in bed my wife said "I know you probably won't believe me but you are wonderful ... thoughtful, considerate, kind, generous and amazing."
An hour earlier I had been lying awake after another poor night's sleep pondering Leah's article a few days earlier that asked "Is your job worthwhile?"
For most of my life the answer would have been a swift "Yes." Managing a team in an important support department of the local NHS Trust - I loved the job and the people I worked with.
Since retirement the answer would be no. After numerous attempts to find voluntary work have come to nothing and my self confidence and self esteem, heavily dented during my final two years at work, have slowly sunk to near zero I feel aimless, worthless and without any purpose. Many of you will be able to understand the impact this has had on my nearest and dearest.
My normal response when my wife says something like this is to pretend she hasn't. Mostly it makes me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious; I am just an ordinary man and have never liked praise beyond a simple "Thank you" or "Well done" on rare occasions. This time though was a bit different.
During my earlier thoughts I had realized that much of what I do is for other people. That's not quite as altruistic as it sounds, I see something that is easy for me while the other person would find difficult. Consequently, it doesn't feel special or extraordinary in any way and I tend to dismiss it. However, for some reason it occurred to me that if I threw a life buoy to a drowning man it's more than throwing a bit of plastic into the water and easy to understand how others would see it as lifesaving.
Perhaps, occasionally, we should examine why other people say good things to, or about us, and not just assume they don't understand the situation.
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.