We all want Good Love, and surely we could all improve our relationships. I mentioned again last week that I have to learn to accept the people I cannot change (everyone else), find the courage to change the one person I can change (me), and have the wisdom to know the difference. Like most things in life, it sounds a lot easier to do than it is to practice.
I’ve discussed change, but the prerequisite to change is to see what needs to be changed in order for there to be improvement. We all wear masks that we use to control what others see when they look at us. There are always things we don’t want to show or reveal, things we don’t want to share with others. What is more dangerous is when we trick or fool ourselves as we look in the mirror to examine ourselves. If we can’t remove our mask to at least see our self clearly, then self deception, denial, and blind spots will prevent us from seeing what we need to change.
I recently found a quote by French author Anaïs Nin that resonated with me: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” This is similar to some other quotes I have shared, and reviewed in my most popular article, There Are Three Kinds of Lies. For example, Julius Caesar’s comment on his use of double agents: “In most cases men willingly believe what they wish.” And Demosthenes said, “Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self; for what we wish, we readily believe.”
But the reason Anaïs Nin’s quote resonated with me is that it points out what is necessary in a logical progression to improve, to change for the better. I have to first see with understanding and wisdom, realizing that how I am affects my vision of my world. I have to remove my blinders and take off my mask as I examine myself to be able to see different, to be able to think and feel different. This allows me to act different, and change and be different – make an improvement.
The ancients believed that the heart was the source of thoughts and feelings, not the brain. I shared that the explanation for our denial, self-deception, and selfishness was well expressed by Jeremiah: The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer 17:9). There are many places in the bible where the lack of understanding and wisdom is expressed by describing foolish and senseless people who have ears but do not hear and have eyes but do not see.
So, to not be foolish and senseless, we need to be able to see, to see with understanding and wisdom. We need to come to our senses, just as the prodigal son did. When the disciples were worried about forgetting the bread, Jesus asked them: Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? (Mark 8:17-18).
But there is a promise to change our hearts: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ez 36:26). Then in Mark 8:25, on the second act to remove a man’s blindness, Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. So it seems to me that what I must ask for is a new heart, not of deceitful stone, and then ask Him to remove my blindness so that I can see clearly.