Sunday, February 25, 2007

Gift Exchange

Robert Burns once wrote, "O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!"


How much of "how others see us" is the gift-wrapping, and how much is what's really in the box? And when they do get beyond the wrapping and look in the box, how much of what they see there is about us, and how much of it is about how they see themselves in relation to us?

I see a lot of people trying to tell other people "how I see you" ... and I wonder what that does for either party.

When we met, Ev and I described ourselves to each other, in large part, in terms of our failings in other relationships. We thought it was only fair to warn each other about "how others see us."

We kept waiting for those failings to become issues in our relationship and cause that slip from the honeymoon phase to the "you drive me crazy" stage ... but it still hasn't happened, even though we're the same people we were in other relationships and we've seen each other at our best and at our worst. Maybe the fault wasn't ours. Maybe it wasn't theirs. Maybe the compatibility of humans is as much of a puzzle as blood typing, and maybe it doesn't make you flawed to be incompatible, any more than O positive blood is inherently "better" than AB negative.

After three years together our compatibility is well established. The stuff that caused emotional hemolysis in our other relationships turns out to be the stuff that makes our relationship work. And the more people point out our "flaws" the more we realize how lucky we were to have our lives transfused with each other and not with them.

How about letting other people be who they are, working on knowing and being happy with who you are, and then finding people who are compatible with you? That's a concept.


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