I was told this in soft exasperation, earlier this week, by one of the most loving souls I’ve ever met, Sara Ness.
In context, it made perfect sense.
Today it makes me think of my stern, repressed stepfather and how hard I tried, as a boy, not to be wrong to him.
It makes me think of cliquish classmates in junior high school, and how hard I tried to anticipate what they would dislike.
It makes me think of how much love I have inside, of the challenge of getting that out fully, into the world. And how useful it is to live and work and grow in loving community.
Something has flipped, inside me, in recent weeks. Receiving feedback about my faults used to strike me as a blow. And it can still be painful. But recently I increasingly welcome it as a vital, irreplaceable form of support.
I cannot see myself the way you see me, unless you tell me. Today I’m mostly very whole, very functional, and surrounded by souls willing to reflect who I am.
I’m as much an individual as ever, self-aware and ultimately self-guided. But I’m an individual in community now, and the feedback I receive from the people I love and respect has taken on an entirely new aspect in life.
Sometimes I do, I make people wrong. Feeling into that, I soften, I love the sweet child I was, and still carry, inside. And I love being surrounded by folks who help me become the fullest version of him.
I love you. And I’ll see what I can do about this making-wrong thing.