family, life

Through the Eyes of . . .

little-lori2wmDo you see through your own eyes?

When I was growing up, my dad worked and my mom stayed home to raise two children, at least until we were well into grade school. My dad was gone a lot, so I learned about him from my mom.

At some point into my adulthood, I realized that I didn’t really know my dad, and that I was seeing him through the eyes of my mom. He and I hadn’t formed our own relationship.

I feel this way about our society as well. We see each other through the media’s eyes and not our own. We don’t really know each other.

Some of you know that my husband, Gary and I recently lost both of his parents. First his dad in October, then his mom nine months later in July.

Gary has three brothers. They are married with children and grandchildren, but we didn’t have children. (See that story at the previous link).

Through the years, we all lived fairly far apart and didn’t see each other often, nor did we really keep in touch. Except, we stayed connected with Gary’s mom, J. Through J, we’d learn all about what was happening in the family lives of our siblings. We were all too busy anyway, so Mom kept us updated. We had family reunions every two or three years, we could catch up then, right?

I used to beg Gary, “Please, call your brothers. Find out what they’re up to. See if they’re okay. What will you do when your parents are no longer with us?”

For the first twelve years of marriage, I took my husband’s hand and led him to stay in contact with his brothers. We tried to keep in touch in a myriad of different ways, but everyone was busy with their little children, so we didn’t hear much back from them. The only way to see or visit with them was by going to J’s house (100 miles from us) when they visited her. Since they had kids, we had to be available around their schedules, which we cleared, even at the last minute, when we heard through J they were coming over.

After working hardΒ  to try and stay connected, we became weary of the one-sided relationship. Around the twelve-year mark of our marriage, we gave up. We did as they did and got on with our own lives, hearing news of siblings through J and seeing them at her house only when our schedule allowed.

We have now been married for 31 years.

At J’s memorial over the weekend, his brothers realized that the link between siblings had died.

gjmem (800x484)wmAs I spoke with them, I learned that my efforts to keep in touch all those years ago had gone completely unnoticed. They also seemed to have misconceptions of me that didn’t make sense. I felt blamed for the disconnect. No one had addressed this with Gary, only me.

Was this my fault? Was I a bad person? I cried during the 90-minute drive home. When Gary saw my pain, he reached over in the car, held my hand and reminded me, “They’ve been getting their information from Mom all these years. It’s like you’ve said on other occasions, they’re seeing through the eyes of someone else … in this case, my Mom. They don’t know the real you.”

The point of this post is to share the life’s lesson of seeing others through our own eyes. Let’s forge relationships and get to know each other person-to-person, so we can see through our own eyes and not someone else’s. Let’s also be sure we know who we are and love ourselves, because it’s difficult to truly love others without self-love.

Have you ever had a misconception about you? If so, did the misconception make you question yourself? Or, did you handle it with ease and not really give a damn?

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18 thoughts on “Through the Eyes of . . .”

  1. That’s a sad story, Lori. We are always judged (good and bad) through filters that people have. How can it be otherwise? Even when someone takes the time to get to know you person-to-person, they still approach you with whatever “baggage” they carry with them (even if they try to discard). Yes, some people are more open-minded and can embrace a new way of thinking about a person or idea, but many people can’t. We like things simple, and alternate views confuse and complicate things!

    Although what others think of me still matters a great deal to me, I’m slowly learning that whatever may be happening at any point in time is less about me and more about things/people outside of my control. I always try to be the best person I can be, staying true to my sense of what a “good person” is and does. That’s all that I can to to measure if I’ve done well as a person. Everything else is out of my control. I’m trying hard not to fret about it. I hardly every completely succeed, but I’m slowly making progress!

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    1. You’re right, Lorna. One of my favorite lines is “Don’t take what other people think of you personally. They’re seeing through the eyes of their own pain.” Which is that “baggage” you’re speaking of. I’m one of these people who likes to look within and see where I went wrong. Could I have contributed to the problem and what could I do differently? I’ve recently been told that I’m highly self-aware and introspective, and that most people are not like that. My blog is pretty much based on introspection and growth, and I get so many positive responses, that I thought it was common place for everyone.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  2. Hi Lori, your post brought to mind a quote I shared on Facebook a while ago. “Never judge someone on someone else’s opinion” In view of your post, I think it says so much in so little words. It’s definitely a philosophy I live by, I accept people on my perceptions not on what others tend to remark on them beforehand. There is only so much we can do, and there does come a time that you have to step away from people who have not bothered stepping towards you. Well done for all the years of trying, but sometimes you just have to accept things are not going to be as you would like them to be. I have been in similar situations with family members, but sometimes they are their own worse enemies, and through their fault, they miss out on so much. .

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    1. Hi Chris. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Yes, there did come a time when we had to finally take care of ourselves, especially because at that time we were grieving a loss and needed to take that time to mourn. I appreciate you understanding. I like the quote you shared, too. Perfect for this post. I could’ve used it at the top of my page. Have a great rest of the weekend.

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  3. In my family, Lori, each of my siblings and I remembers growing up in the same household differently. Rather appropriate, come to think of it, since we’re each individuals with different points of view and perceptions. Still, interesting… xoxoM

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    1. Very true, M. We do see through different lenses. It would be nice if someone got to know me through their own lenses instead of someone else’s. They may still make judgments, but they’d likely be different ones.

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      1. We’re always seen through different lenses, Lori. Much of the time we just don’t recognize ourselves in those views. Must be in the frames [of reference], not just the lenses, lol! πŸ˜‰ xoM

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          1. I was making a pun with wearing glasses. Anyway,even though we are all One, we each bring an individual frame of reference as to how we see…well…anything. That frame of reference informs our perception and experience. All this to say, don’t suffer, my sweet friend, because others don’t see you as you know yourself to be. It doesn’t negate or diminish your wonderful Truth. xoxoM

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            1. Thank you, M. This physical realm can weigh me down at times, and it’s difficult to remember I am also One with the Magnificent. πŸ™‚

              BTW, have you heard of this book titled Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani. She had an NDE and shares her experience with Oneness. I just finished it, but I think I need to read it again. πŸ˜‰

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  4. I know what you mean. The parents are a focal point and when they’re gone, we have to re-adjust a few things. I remember my brother saying, after our mother died, “Well, I guess you’re the mother now.” He didn’t mean I had to mother them but I should be the new “co-ordinator.”

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    1. I’m learning that some families did go through the mom for “coordinating.” My family didn’t. I never understood it. You’re right, there is a readjustment to go through. Hopefully, it will adjust for the better and we can remain connected.

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Anneli.

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  5. My husband isn’t close with his siblings either. They are different people with different beliefs, as well as his mother. I’d push for more contact, but every day his mother seems heck bent on treating me like I’m an idiot, so I don’t really care if he calls or not. That’s his business. Lol. I don’t know much about his brother, and his sister is one of those on a high horse that looks down on everyone. Not really my kind of people. πŸ™‚ I hope that if you want to regain the contact they will make more of an effort now.

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    1. I can understand that about your husband’s family. My friend has in-laws like that. When we were first married, I had a good time with my husband’s brothers. They’re super fun. But, over time, things changed. I love my MIL, but seeing through her eyes was not the healthiest view to see through.

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Angela.

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    1. Glad you hear you made a few calls, Charlie. Hopefully, the communication will continue for you. Thank you for reading and understanding my true intent. Blessings to you, Sir.

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