xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' The Font of Noelage: Seeing ourselves as others see us.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Seeing ourselves as others see us.

It was the great Robbie Burns who once mused
Oh would some power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as other see us.

Well, of course, while Robbie is entitled to wish for such a great power, others have warned that we should be very careful what we wish for. It may not always turn out for the best. This became very apparent to me just last week. My beautiful wife, Lesley, came home from shopping. She was not happy.

Normally, when Lesley returns from her infrequent clothes shopping expedition she is very happy. She tells me of the many bargains that she has purchased and then takes delight in showing them to me. Sometimes, she even buys things for me, which makes me happy too.

But on this occasion Lesley was far from happy. She was bemused. She was put out and cheesed off. You could even say that she was very chagrined, irritated and vexed.Very vexed.

That morning she had been in a large department store looking for lady’s shoes that were both comfortable for walking and fashionable to look at. Finding ladies shoes that are comfortable and fashionable is no easy task. Some would say that where ladies' shoes are concerned, comfortable + fashionable is an oxy- moron, like Military Intelligence or Political Integrity.

Like a lot of big department stores these days, there was a great selection of merchandise on display but a complete lack of shop assistants to help with the shopping experience. Lesley noticed an old lady who was having trouble balancing on one leg as she tried on a shoe. Being as kind and caring as she is beautiful, Lesley quickly moved to help her.

“Here, lean on my shoulder to steady yourself,” she said as she moved alongside the old lady. They quickly fell into friendly conversation as he lady tried on the shoes, eventually deciding she did not want them. Together they wandered around the great array of shoes, conversing cheerily and looking, looking, looking.

Lesley’s quest for comfortable and fashionable shoes was proving to be Mission Impossible. At length she said to her shopping new found companion that there did not seem to be any suitable shoes on display.

“No,” replied the elderly lady, “they don’t seem to cater for us anymore.”

Us! Us, thought Lesley. Does that mean that she thinks that I look as old to her as she does to me? The very cheek of it!

Lesley quickly walked out of the shoe department in high dudgeon. She would much have preferred to walk out in fashionable and comfortable shoes. The good news is that Lesley can still balance on one leg, as she demonstrated to me, as if to prove a point, when she finished telling her story. By this time she was smiling.

Ah, yes, as I am sure Robert Burns knew only too well, to see ourselves as others see us is more often than not a great shock, rather than a welcome gift.

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