For many people, who they are is defined by how other people see them. My best friend of five years recently found a picture of herself on Facebook on someone else’s profile. I was a good picture – nothing bad or inappropriate – but it made her feel bad nonetheless.
You see, my friend is an amazing singer. That’s why her picture was up; something related to her activities in the school choir. And all the comments attached to that picture were things like “she has such a wonderful voice!” or “she’s going to be a great singer when she grows up!”
But she doesn’t want to be a singer. She wants to go into early education. She wants to be a teacher. And she wants to maybe get one of her amazing original stories published someday. But everyone – her parents, many of her friends, even her classmates and people she barely knows – see her as a singer. She feels trapped, because she feels like the only thing people notice about her is that she has a good singing voice.
She’s so much more than a good singing voice, but people don’t know that. They don’t make an effort to get to know her; they just notice, oh, yes, she can sing pretty well, and move on.
I think everyone should make an effort to get to know the people we only know a couple of things about. No one should pass a person every day and just think of them as pretty, or a good singer, or short, or tall, or overweight, or skinny. We should do our best to recognize people for who they are, not who we see them as when we glance around a crowded room.
Because who we are isn’t how others see us, but how others see us can trap who we are and who we might become.