“I don’t see myself that way.”
“I know. We never see ourselves as others see us.”
It was late at night and I was talking to my friend Jack, who is a wonderful person and someone without whom my life would not be complete. On this particular night we were discussing the ever-relevant subject of Life. As we separated for bed shortly after the above interchange, I continued musing on the 'outside' view of someone- say, from a friend- vs. our personal 'inside' view.
Most of my small group of close friends are very self aware. We know our faults and flaws, we know what we have to do to fix them, we’re (sometimes) good at identifying the sources of our stress, we’re good at knowing what we want to change most about ourselves.
But we rarely see ourselves as others see us.
There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold......
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world....
We are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let's raise our candles and light up the sky....
Make us a beacon in darkest times
~ Go Light Your World - Kathy Troccoli ~
Many people don’t even realize they are candles. This is not a bad thing (sometimes it prevents us from becoming arrogant) if there are others present to tell us what they see and to remind us to keep our flames burning; even to shield our flames through storms. But if we refuse to believe those people when they point out the positive sides in our natures, if all we focus on is what we think we should be or what the world appreciates as opposed to what we are, then we’re snuffing our candle flame.
You don’t have to have 200 FB friends or blog followers. You don’t have to be perpetually cheerful, to never say a negative word or have a bad day or be furious about something or have an irrational emotional reaction. You don't have to be someone whose personality the world understands. You don’t even have to have a decent life. No matter who you are, where you are in life, or what your world is like, you can be a candle.
Tall, taper candles; perfumed votives; fancifully carven pillars; a simple, undecorated square: every candle has a place. We never know when we’re going to touch someone’s life. Sometimes it’s the ‘hi’ spoken to a random stranger. Sometimes it’s leaving comments on blog posts or FB statuses. It can seem like a lot of trouble to comment on everyone’s new profile pics or even to just react to a post without commenting. Sometimes it's leaving a message just saying, ‘hey, I appreciate you’ or ‘hey, you’re a really cool person’. Texting someone to ask how they are doing. Tweeting an enthusiastic agreement of someone’s random Twitter status.
This is a difficult concept for me and for many others I know. Not only do we not think we have anything worthwhile to give most people, we know people who are bright candles already and seeing the good job they are doing, we think, ‘why would WE be needed?’.
But the truth is that no one else’s candle is exactly like yours. And the world needs every candle it can get, especially yours, with your unique personality coloring the flame. (If you don’t believe me, go read the politics news for about ten minutes and then come back. Or do a google search on life under a communist regime such as China, North Korea, or Vietnam. Mmmhmm, believe me now?)
So keep your flame burning, take your candle, and go light YOUR world.