Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
-- Dr. Suess
Ten years ago I walked into a class. The promise in the brochure was that by the end of the course, students would know how to get actual information from the gut feelings or inklings we all have. The first words out of the instructor’s mouth were, “I see your spirit and it’s beautiful.” I thought she was crazy.
Two weeks ago I raced into the Starbucks as I do most mornings. I stood somewhat impatiently in line with my phone in hand, as I do most mornings. In front of me is an old man moving very slowly. I can feel the anxiety and the annoyance building in me. One part of me knows I need to be patient and compassionate but in that moment, when I’m already late, patience and compassion are not the primary feelings coursing through my body. Then, to take my mind off the man in front of me, I look to my right and see a quirky looking man in a bowler hat pounding away at his computer looking almost as if he’s in a trance. To my left a woman just walked in front of me in line. Without realizing it, that critical voice (the one I like to pretend doesn’t exist in me) starts talking to me about the weird guy in the bowler hat and the rude lady who just cut in front of me. I start debating with myself about whether I’m going to let that lady know how rude she’s being. Fortunately, in the pause right before I open my mouth, the words of that teacher I had 10 years earlier come back, “I see your spirit and it’s beautiful.” In that instant, I get it. I wasn’t seeing these other people, I was seeing my judgments of them. I look at them again and this time I see an incredibly determined elderly man working hard to get to his destination; a fascinating man in a bowler hat who is so passionate about his work that he is lost in it; and a woman who, when I really look at her face, looks even more anxious and stressed than I’m feeling. In that moment, standing in the Starbucks, I finally really understood – we can see through the eyes of our own needs, expectations and judgments or we can look beyond our own filters and see what is unique and amazing in another person.
We all want to be seen for our uniqueness, for our gifts, for who we are. When we see that in another person we automatically help them to step more fully into their fullest potential.
Take a few minutes to slow down and get quiet.
Bring to mind a person who you have felt judgment or criticism toward.
Consider what is unique, interesting, maybe even amazing about this person.
Stay quiet for another minute and imagine the next time you are with this person. Now imagine seeing him or her in this new way.