They say that when a man and a woman get married, there are actually six people standing there at the altar on that wedding day. No, not the dolled-up bridesmaids or swaggering groomsmen. Invisible people. Four of them, in fact.
I’ll list all six to begin with.
1. Who she thinks she is.
2. Who he thinks she is.
3. Who she really is.
4. Who he thinks he is.
5. Who she thinks he is.
6. Who he really is.
Hmmm. You laugh. It’s funny. But it’s also bang on (which, ironically, is why it’s so funny). Who am I, really? Am I who I think I am? Or do you have a better take on that?
I think I’m a pretty nice guy.
Most people seem to think so, too.
But am I? Am I really?
This week my youngest son, Joel, has been cinching up ice skates and living his dream. No, it’s not the NHL, but it might as well be. He’s only skated a handful of times in his life, so his first two minutes on the ice were spent whirling in midair and making good use of his helmet and elbow pads. Talking about a learning curve: in today’s game he probably scored five goals (though it’s just community hockey and I’m not supposed to be keeping score).
Sure, I’m proud of him and appreciate his determination. He’s got raw ability and a drive to put that to use. But what’s been amusing me as I watch him is who he thinks he is. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s Alexander Ovechkin, the current NHL scoring champion. The proof? Joel is trying to pull off Ovechkin’s victory dance after his goals. It’s a hoot to watch, especially since it usually lands him flat on his back.
Who does he think he is? Is it bad to pretend? So far, it seems to be working for him—think like a star, perform like a star. Of course, he’s not a star. At least yet. He’s not Russian, and he’s not playing in the NHL. But he’s good, and he’s enjoying himself, and there’s at least a grain of grace and truth to his self concept.
It’s important, who I think I am.
On the other hand, we all have blind spots. There are things I can’t see about myself, not even when I step outside myself and look in the mirror. How many times have you watched yourself on video or studied a photo of yourself and thought, “Do I really look like that? Is that how I sound? I thought that shirt looked good on me.”
So that groom at the altar, he thinks that who he thinks he is, IS who he is. That his take is the right one, that there’s only one version of him kicking around. As do all of us. But we’re wrong.
Which is where other people come in. I’ll post about that next.