“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!”
The great Scottish poet, Robert Burns, made this astute observation in his poem, To a Louse.
Now I’m not a big fan of poetry, but back in high school English lit class, we did have to study some of the world’s great poets, including the aforementioned Robert Burns. Of all of his poems we read, one poem, and one particular line in that poem — the one I’ve quoted at the top of this post — stood out to me.
For a more contemporary interpretation of the quoted text, it essentially means, “It would be great if we could somehow have the gift of being able to see ourselves the way other people see us.”
We really can’t see ourselves as others see us, can we? We see ourselves through our own perspectives, our own perceptions, and our own reality. Few of us can understand how we really come across to those around us or to the world.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, even for just an hour or a day, we could know how others view us? I think that seeing ourselves as others see us would be a gift, but perhaps it would actually be a burden. No doubt, though, it would be illuminating.
Maybe you wouldn’t like what you see.
Maybe such a “gift” would cause you to only say and do things that would please others.
Maybe it’s better to stay true to yourself and behave in a way that is natural to you, as an individual, regardless of how you are viewed by others.
In the end, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a little self-reflection.
This post is for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.