Oh, those first days and weeks of falling in love! Perhaps it’s with your infant, as you hold her in your arms and breathe that miraculous scent of new life.
When we love, blind spots are inevitable.
When we love romantically, sometimes they run their course, we settle into a more realistic appreciation of our partner, and we see the relationship for what it is – good, albeit imperfect, or not so good – and time to face that particular music.
And when it comes to our children?
Ah, those blind spots are broad and deep.
Then again, some might say that parenting itself is an exercise in groping blindly as we go – certainly with a first child, perhaps with the first of each sex, perhaps with each child at each and every new stage – as they respond differently and need differently. Naturally, time plays its role; we evolve as parents, as do circumstances and their impact on our perception and our actions.
There were times when my sons were younger and others made remarks about their behaviors, their development, their personalities – and I might nod and acknowledge the comments, and then dismiss them as absolute nonsense. After all, as a parent, I certainly knew my own children better than the teacher or the neighbor or the nosy stranger – usually.
Some we take, some we ponder, and any that attacks our children – we tend to toss away like yesterday’s garbage.
Love for a child is primal, visceral, powerful beyond anything we imagine until we become mothers and fathers and understand the bond so fierce as to be inexplicable. For most of us, we will protect our children to the death. Period.
Does that mean we don’t absorb the messages we just don’t care to hear? Or must we take our time to process, and arrive at our own answers?
I believe in listening to my gut, and taking time to consider the source and legitimacy of remarks about my children or my parenting. I factor in the agenda of the other person (if there is one), their experience (if they have any), and their role in my life.
I ask myself if this is someone who loves me and wants the best for me. I ask myself if this is someone who loves my children – and wants the best for them.
Sometimes, our blind spots serve our children well. At other times, they are the armor we rely on to keep going through difficult times. We are capable of taking the armor off, but we do so on our own timetable.
As for partners? Who hasn’t had the boyfriend or husband that family has barely tolerated, that your BFF has snubbed, that something in you sensed wasn’t quite right but you wouldn’t accept it?
Blind spots are the dazzling devils of new relationships. I’ve fallen victim in my time, and hope I’ve learned to take my time as a result.
But blind or not – that searing, sizzling, staggering set of sensations that accompanies the coup de foudre – love at first sight or early passion – is sublime. Sometimes, as the blindness fades, we find the clear light of affection and esteem and mutual pleasure in full awareness of human imperfections.
The blinders are off, and we love what we see.
What about our own capacity to turn away from our failings and our frailty? Isn’t that another sort of survival – possibly helpful or, a route through denial that is potentially hazardous?
Some of us carry on by denying that we’re ill, denying that we’re acting out, denying that we need help, denying that we’re heading for a fall, denying that we are denying – the truths in how we live and love, the truths in our relationships, the truths we feel in our intuitive bodies.
Some of us are far too hard on ourselves. We dismiss compliments, we gloss over accomplishments; we are blind to the valiant, the valuable, the viable – in ourselves. Women behave in these self-deprecating ways all too often, running scathing or demeaning dialogs in our heads scolding ourselves about the choices we make (or defer), the silences we keep (or break), the way we look, the way we look, always the way we look – and it’s never “good enough.”
As for me, I like to think that if I carry on blindly – or partially so – it is only for a time, and words will penetrate – those that challenge me to face tough realities, as well as good words that remind me of my value.
- Do you know your blind spots?
- Can you find your way to other perspectives with time?
- Can you accept the blind spots in those you love?