Do you know what I have learned over the past few years? The perspective we hold of ourselves is not quite what the world sees. When I was in college I spent time lying in bed philosophizing about life and one of my favorite philosophies was “applebomin.” Now, what you might ask is applebomin? Don’t take out your dictionary. It won’t be in there. Don’t bring me William Safire. He won’t be able to help decipher it. It is my word; a word I made up in a college dorm that is the basis for my theory on perspective. I was lying in my bed when I recognized that the colors that I see when I look at the world may not be the colors that you see. Granted we both identify the same color as red but the name might be different than the perception and since we are bound by the limits of our language and today by the inability to see through someone else’s eyes I have no idea whether the colors that you are seeing are the same as the ones I am seeing. The word applebomin I made up as the catch phrase for this theory, little did I know scientists were discussing this idea for ages.
So when we speak of perception and perspective little do we know about how others think of us. I remember making a cake and saying to myself, “I wish my friend Sara was here to help me she was so good at making cakes.” A few weeks later I ran into her and said, “ooh I was thinking of you the other day when I was decorating the cake wishing you were there to help me with it you were always so good at that.” Her response was shocking “Esther you were always the good one at making cakes I wanted to be like you” I took a step back in surprise, we both perceived the other as the better.
We don’t know how people perceive us. We might be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised but it is an interesting experiment. I called my friends and asked them what do you think of me, When you think Esther Azar what words come to mind. I got some interesting responses things I didn’t know about myself, the things I strive to be I already am. Self assured, confident, strong, smart. How interesting I am the only one that thinks I am insecure am I putting on a show for the rest of the world or is the show who I really am. Maybe I need to let go of my insecurities and embrace myself as I am seen through the world. .
This is an opportunity to recognize who we are through a mirror. Seeing our strengths and weaknesses so that we can build ourselves to the person we already are. Perception of ourselves is like the color red we may see it differently than our neighbor.
Rabbi Esther Azar