Do You See What I See? Seeing From the Heart of Others

ALL our lives we search for the secret, the meaning, heaven on earth, nirvana. And do we find it? No, we never do. This is because we never challenge ourselves to break past our comfortable thinking zones.

We never think why Jesus was always seeking to connect our understanding to the connected themes of forgiveness and the abundant life, i.e. forgiveness leads to an abundant life; abundant living is contingent on forgiveness.

The fact is we cannot hope to experience His abundant life while we harbour bitterness of any sort or size in our heart.

There is a direct correlation between hatred of another person and hatred within our person.

If we have anything against anyone we bear fear that no human was designed to bear.

God made us in His image to love and be loved. Any departure from that brings disconnection and alienation. We were designed from the beginning to experience a constant state of healing. Now, because of sin, we have to enter such a space of healing through intention, because God loved us so much to give us free will. We need to want it. Because of sin it is no longer automatic to think, say and do things that are blessed. But not many choose healing by intention, and those who do are challenged to do it consistently – which can only be learned through the discipleship of following Jesus by bearing our cross as He beared His; that occurs over the refining years.

Now is the opportunity to connect our will with the Divine will, for God’s glory. This is to begin to see that our healing is utterly dependent on others’ healing – that, as they heal through the agency of our forgiveness, we heal. And the foretaste of such healing is the experience that we’re no longer threatened by others and can therefore never be a threat to anyone. (I speak in terms of having attained this, as illustrative, so we know the reward we’re striving for.)

The key to making this work, more and more, as we grow into it, is to encounter others as individuals glorious in God’s making and sight. That, because of Jesus, God has maximum pleasure in them as they are. The invitation is to swap our limited sight of heart for the sight of heart God has for the person we’re encountering. We imagine this other person, whether we like them or not, and especially if we dislike them, inviting us into themselves through the question, do you see what I see? to see not so much into their world, but from their world; from their eyes, ears, mind, and heart.

The moment we’re grateful for the person who has wronged us is the moment our heart is being transformed by forgiveness. We cannot do this without God doing something majestically graceful in us. Remember what is impossible for humans is possible for God.

If we see how others see we begin to understand the world how they understand it. Then it is no large leap to forgive them. And as we continue relating with this person, God continues opening our heart to how they experience the world. Then, suddenly, there is connection, our fear fades, and the abundant life approaches and comes into the realm of our experience. All because we were no longer estranged to God in them.

A fundamental Jesus reality: we cannot heal without others healing; we do not understand unless we seek to understand as they understand. His abundant life is intrinsically linked to our forgiving others.

I No Longer Wanted To Play A Role

A little while before a relationship came to an end, at the beginning of 2013; I had got to the point where I no longer wanted to behave in the same way. Up until this point, I was easy-going and generally came across as happy.

It wasn’t that I no longer wanted to be easy-going or to come across as happy, it was that I wanted to decide when I would behave in this way. For so long, behaving in this way was something that would just happen.

One Problem

The trouble was that I felt the need to behave in this way when I was around a certain friend. In a way, this friend had a lot in common with how I saw my mother as a child, and this meant that the role I played around them was similar to how I behaved when I was growing up.

I saw this person as having it all together and being a larger than life figure, which was one of the main reasons why we were drawn together in the first place. When I first met them I didn’t know this, of course, but another part of me did.

The Same Dynamic

This was then the same as what happens when someone ends up in an intimate relationship with someone who reminds them of their mother/father. In my case, I had ended up with a friend who reminded me of my mother.

When I was growing up, I had to overlook my own needs and focus on my mother needs instead. And, when I was around this friend, this is what typically took place.

So, in the same say that I was nothing more than extension of my mother when I grew up, I ended up acting as though I was an extension of this person. As a result of this, I did what I could to please them.

Two Parts

In the beginning, I thought it was great to spend time with them, but as time passed I felt as though I had lost touch with myself. For a few years prior to this, I had got to the point where I had a relatively good idea who I was and this allowed me to fulfil my needs from time to time.

But through spending time with this person, I slowly turned my back on who I had become, and I started to feel trapped. Being around someone who reminded me of my mother was familiar and, therefore, what pulled me in, but as time passed, I soon experienced how I felt when I felt repelled by her.

I wasn’t Waking in the Dark

This meant that in the same way that I was fearful of my mother, I also felt fearful of this person. Consciously, I could see what was going on and how we were both playing out old family drama, but my body was full of trauma.

Fortunately, due to what I had learned about childhood abuse and neglect and the work that I had done up until this point, I could see what was taking place. However, although I was doing what I could to understand what was going on, I got the impression that this person didn’t have the same desire.

A Tough Time

I did my best to avoid any more drama being created, but there was only so much that I could do. What made this even harder was the amount of pain that I was in at the time, and this meant that the last thing I needed was to be around someone who couldn’t see how their early years were affecting their behaviour.

Yet, if I had felt safer around women, this would have probably been something that I would have experienced with a woman in an intimate relationship. This was a time when I had to do my best to work though what was coming up in order to heal myself.

My Outlook

If I had no understanding of how my younger years were effecting my adult years and lacked self-awareness, I would have been normal for me to feel like a victim and to blame this person for everything. This would have stopped me from being able to move forward and I would have probably experienced the same thing with someone else.

At the end of the day, the reason this was taking place was to allow me to heal my childhood wounds. Having said all that, it wouldn’t be right to say that this person was a carbon copy of my mother as it wasn’t this black and white.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand five hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.