“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Helen Keller
How do you see yourself? How do you feel about that? What is your vision of life?
Seeing is about more than viewing the person in front of you or the brown leaves falling from the trees. Our sight pulls the tangible world into our brains to be processed. We also describe “seeing” as vision. The word “vision” is about much more than gazing at the things around us. Even the blind possess vision. What we value determines our vision.
The environment in which we grow up has a powerful effect upon us and forms the way we see the world when we are young. As we develop we may be exposed to new ideas about life, what is good and what is bad, and how we are supposed to act in various situations. How we respond to such ideas, rejecting or accepting them, may be determined by our family’s values.
Learning From Our Families
I grew up with a mother and father who valued the fine arts. My father often played classical music on the record player and took us to art galleries. My mother played the piano and taught me to sing. She also pushed me into taking drama and dance classes because she felt I was too shy. Although it was scary at first, I learned to love creatively expressing myself through the arts even when other people thought those pursuits were foolish.
As a result of being involved with the fine arts, I learned to appreciate a variety of people and how their different visions of life had value. When analyzing a character in order to act the part in a play, I developed a deeper understanding of psychology that flowed into my life with friends and family.
Through this experience, my vision of humanity expanded. I came to accept and value people who were very different from the community where I grew up. However, part of the reason I became more open-minded than typical Southerners of that time was that my mother also taught me that all people were of value. From her Baptist background she learned to love everyone. She and my grandparents were good role models.
Some Family Values Are Unbending
In other families there is little room to explore and develop oneself. The family vision of life must be followed or one is excluded from the group. In these situations there is no room to develop one’s own vision. The primary value is “don’t rock the ship.” If you do, you will be “thrown overboard.”
These rigid ways of viewing life have a vision, but it is one that leaves no room to be who one truly is. Tara Westover’s book “Educated” is about an extreme vision of a rigid life. It tells the sad story of a woman who leaves the cult to which her family is devoted. Not surprisingly, she is rejected by them. Despite her loss, she searches for who she really is, finds her own vision, and creates the life she wants to live.
Learning to Value Ourselves
The experiences we have in life offer us opportunities to ponder our values and determine our vision of life. Have our experiences taught us to value ourselves, to believe we are intelligent, loving, or wise? Or do we believe we are stupid, unloving, and foolish? If it is the latter, it is probably because we have grown up with people who are blind to their own value.
When we do not have a positive vision of ourselves, it is crucial that we find help through counseling or spiritual means to discover who we truly are, to see our value, to change what we need to change in order to value ourselves. This internal work will strengthen our internal vision of ourselves in a positive way and allow us to become who we truly are.
When we can see ourselves as worthwhile, we can see others as valuable human beings. This positive vision takes us beyond seeing. It allows us to connect in deep, often spiritual ways, and to value what is best for us individually and for us all. When we can awaken to a vision of love and acceptance, even with those who see the world differently, we have an opportunity to uplift us all and save the world. Namaste.
© 2020 Georganne Spruce