It is humbling and a bit disconcerting to imagine yourself as others see you, particularly when the reflection is less than flattering. I am lately reminded of my snobbery and my pretension. In efforts to distance myself from particular behaviors and traits I find unattractive in my friends, I elevate myself to push them down and away. By so doing, I show myself just as pettily related to those behaviors and quite the antithesis of the cool, collected, superior being I wish to be.
Just yesterday I indulged in some eye-rolling and grumbling about an acquaintance who tries to engage conversations with those she considers intellectual superiors but social equals in - what seems to be - a plea for affirmation and validation. Just a few hours after this 'indulgence', having chatted with a professor while ever-so-slightly under the influence, I was uncomfortably reminded of my dismissal of this acquaintance. I genuinely like this professor and I enjoy conversations with him. Further, I miss having conversations with people who are not, strictly speaking, my peers; having left Beck's my day-to-day conversations and community have been more limited in range. However, looking back on the rather rambling, disjointed conversation I carried on, I wonder just to what extent I resembled the young woman of whom I was so indulgently scornful. Just how much petting and approbation was I looking for? How tedious was my nattering?
How do I go about reminding myself, continually, to be generous in my opinions and attitudes toward others? When I find myself puffing up, wanting to distance myself from an opinion, an attitude, a statement, a mode of comportment, how do I make myself relax, ease up, let go and exhale?
How do I remind myself to re-orient myself ethically toward the one I see, toward those I cannot see, toward the one next to me, to myself?