Stories from a life in progress.

Being seen

"I read things [in an unnamed self-help book] like, how do you think other people see you?  What's the first thing they notice about you?  And it brings me up short.  I have no idea.  You mean, people _see_ me?  They have thoughts about me?  I really don't know.  What does someone see, if they're passing me in the hall or sitting in a restaurant or in a shop?"

I've been carrying around an old notebook lately, one which has no specific purpose other than to be a place to catch random things in.  That quotation is from a page near the very beginning, roughly June 2007.

As I've said before among my posts about journaling, I don't make a point of going back to read my journals.  Journaling is a tool for my present more than an archive of my past.  But now and then I do cross paths with something I wrote a long time ago, like this brief paragraph scribbled in the front of an old notebook.  Sometimes it shows me how far I've come.  This one shows me a place where I don't think I've changed much at all.

I still have no idea how people see me, and it's still a baffling idea that anyone thinks about me when I'm not right in front of them.  Why on earth would they?

It's a troubling realization.  When I consider the people I think about from day to day, whether or not I see them in person, they are people I love, or people I respect and learn from, or people I am concerned about.  They are people with real significance inside of my life in one way or another.

If no-one ever thinks about me, unless I'm standing right there and they don't have a choice, that means I am essentially insignificant.  I have little to no chance of having actual impact on anyone, and no reason to even try.

I'm not concerned today that this is literally true, but that I seem to believe and act as though it is.  I don't try very hard to connect with people.  I don't work hard enough.  I too often act like I'm a mere spectator of life, not a participant.  As though it doesn't matter if I'm present or not.  That's all wrong.

I don't think it's coincidental that I found this paragraph right now.  I need to think about this, think and learn and change it.  Life is happening, and I need to get in there and live it.