Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Someone Else’s Eyes

Published in Blog.

It’s hard seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes.

I was watching a movie tonight and a character said something to the effect of “I just don’t want you to remember me like that.”

Think of a relationship you had in the past and try to think about the moments of interaction that stand out. Think about what you consider a good relationship and ask yourself if the other party might have the same feeling. Was that same interaction positive from their perspective? Same goes for a negative relationship; would that interaction be a negative or positive memory from the other person’s point of view?

I have a lot of brokenness on that level. If I were another person remembering me, remembering the brief amount of time they knew me, or remembering the interaction they had with me, the imbalance between those who might think of me in a positive light and those who wouldn’t likely weighs far heavier on the latter. There are a lot of positive memories I have which, in hindsight, are really one-sided in that regard. For the vast majority of my life I haven’t let people see the good that there is. And honestly, they haven’t been given much of a choice in the matter of how they should remember me. I really regret that.

I guess the goal here is to work on looking at each moment objectively. The only way to go through life not having to apologize to everyone along the way, saying “I just don’t want you to remember me like that,” is to stop putting yourself in those situations to begin with. Yes, the thing that matters most is how you feel about yourself and it shouldn’t really be your top priority to concern yourself with how others think of you. But there is a difference between saying “I don’t care what other people think” and saying “I don’t care what other people are given to remember.” The more you’re able to do things to build positive memories the likelier it becomes that people remember you for something good. This can be as small a gesture as a smile. It’s silly how simple that might sound, but that’s really all you can do. And that is important. From there you can’t control what they think, you can only control the effort you put into making sure that their interaction with you is as positive as you believe it can be from their given perspective.

Yeah, it’s hard seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes, but that’s the only perspective the rest of the world has when interacting with you. Hopefully I can be a little more mindful of that as days go by.