Question: I look forward to reading your book. Could you please explain the sentence about spiritual discernment and how the world we see is a reflection of how we see ourselves?
Response: Let’s say we have two people, one is a real estate developer and the other a farmer. Both see a fifty-acre parcel of land for sale. One, the developer, will see the potential for new housing on this land. The other, the farmer, will see the potential for growing produce. Each is seeing this same parcel of land (the world) but from a very different perspective (how they see themselves).
Do we see the world as a place to give or do we see it as an opportunity to take? It depends on how we see ourselves. If you are self-confident and feel you have a gift to share with the world, you will be a giver, and you will treat the world accordingly. If you suffer from low self-esteem and you’re always trying to fill that inner void with people, places, and things, you’ll be a taker, and you’ll treat the world accordingly. The first sees the world as a place to express their strength. The second sees the world as a resource to help cover for their weakness.
I’ve performed around a thousand weddings in my career. I can tell the difference between a couple who has come together in strength and a couple who has come together in weakness. Two halves don’t make a whole. Only two wholes make a strong and lasting relationship. We don’t find the rest of our self in another. We find the rest of our self in our self. That saying, “You complete me” was obviously written by a person who didn’t get the memo. How much better it is to say, “You inspire the best in me.” How we view the “world” of relationships, is determined by how the individuals involved view themselves.
In the “world” of careers, do I enter one for what I can give, or do I think only of what I can get? Say you own a business and you have a position to fill. You have two applicants. After long interviews you see person #1 is applying because they love the business, and they’re very enthused about what they can do to help it succeed. Person #2 is applying because you’re offering great benefits. Which one will you hire, the giver or the taker? Each sees the position (the world) according to how they see themselves. I want the position because I have much to give. I want the position because I have many needs.
Some see the world as a grand opportunity. Others see the world as a prison. Why? What’s the difference? Do we not all occupy the same beautiful blue ball we call earth? On the surface, the answer should be yes, we all occupy the same planet. In truth, however, each person occupies the planet as they understand it. We don’t see the world as it is. We see the world as we are. Emerson said it this way: “You can only see what you are.”
I’ve used this illustration before, but it’s appropriate here. When I first learned to downhill ski, I was completely intimidated. Growing up in Missouri, we were not in the habit of strapping seven-foot boards to our feet and sliding down snow-covered hills … standing up. On my second or third time out, a friend took me to Vail and left me to fend for myself on a very tame slope. Somehow I got off that green level slope and ended up on a terrifying blue. Fortunately, an angel dressed like an elderly man saw that I was not actually an ice sculpture frozen on the side of the mountain. He helped me ease down to safety. To make a long story short, by the end of that season, I skied that terrifying slope without even realizing it was the same place until later. Same slope, different person. The first time I saw myself as a quivering wannabe skier. The second time I saw myself as a skier. This shift in my own self-perception had everything to do with how I saw that mountain.
I hope this helps. Thanks for asking your question.