I lose myself in others. I never realised this until it was pointed out to me by a most beloved teacher. I lose myself so completely within others that I totally lose my grounding, my opinions, even my vision. My dreams become sacrificed, my creativity wanes, and my whole outlook becomes one which seeks the pleasure of that other.

Getting married and having two small children is no healthy antidote to this. They are, particularly my children, understandably, so dependent upon me that I sometimes feel that I am only a structure due to holding them up. Then all of a sudden, something happens, a jolt of consciousness, in which I remember, with lucidity, that I am I. I was I before them all, and I will still be I, until my last day. They make me an absolutely better version of myself, by my service to them, but in that service, I forget what I like, my tastes, I forget my direction in this life.

It may well be a culmination of a few things. As the youngest of 4 children, I was always surrounded by others, always watched, so I have honed some quite special skills of pleasing others, before pleasing myself. When one is always under the eyes of other people, you learn to gauge their reaction, and comparmentalise your own. You are wary of their anxieties, before your own needs, and seek to pacify the situation, finding some hole, some chink in which to fit your own self. To live from the outside in.

To live from the outside in. To use the outer eye as opposed to the inner eye. We probably all do this more than we like to admit. In this world of surfaces, finding spaces where you work from the inside out are few and far between, well for me they are anyway.

But since I’ve noticed it, I’ve started to check myself. To withdraw and look within. And it doesn’t bode well for happy onlookers. Especially those who are used to me being their version of me. Not my version of me. The one I will have to stand in front of My Creator someday and justify my every thought and move.

But in time, those people learn, that the performer is not always as they seem, and the quietude from respectful withdrawal unveils a much more pleasing sight.