A friend of mine is going through a rough place in his relationship. His on again and then off again and then on again girlfriend, who is sometimes relegated to “roommate” status, of the past two years is fighting with him again. He doesn’t tell me any of the details about their relationship. But I know that when it is good he is really happy. When it isn’t good…. well, that’s another story entirely.
Watching this dance of theirs, I have found myself wondering does my friend feel like he deserves the stuff this woman is shoveling? Is it a lack of self-esteem that makes him continue to be with someone who hurts him on a regular basis? Which leads me here. If only he could see himself how I see him.
There is a saying, “Only a face a mother could love.” And you may have heard the line from a song, “You are so beautiful to me.” I think that so much of what we observe or experience comes down to how we “see” things or our perception.
Perception can be tricky. Think about it. You have a perception of yourself. You have a perception of how you think others see you. There is the actual perception of you by others. And there is your perception of others. I am willing to bet that these various perceptions are not the same.
I had the opportunity when I was living in Seattle to study Portraiture with the artist Lisel Salzer. Lisel was an amazing person and artist. I could write a blog post about her alone. One night Lisel and I were on the front porch watching the moon rise over Lake Washington. We were discussing the challenges of painting portraits. She said something very profound that resonates with me to this day. She said that sometimes when you unveil a portrait the person is surprised. They will say things like “that isn’t me” or “that doesn’t look like me.” Remember this is a portrait. The person sat for Lisel, had given her photographs or possibly a combination of both. I asked her how she responded to these comments. She smiled and said, “I tell the person that is how I see them.”
So this takes me back to my friend. I see him as intelligent, handsome, industrious and creative. He has quick wit and a delightfully dark sense of humor. I want him to be happy and in a healthy relationship that enhances his life.
This is my perception.