We all concern ourselves a bit too much with what others think of us, and not enough on those we love the most.
I say “us” and I say “we”, but above all I mean “I” and I mean “me”.
I guess that in this instant, I chose to generalise at the expense of the few… or perhaps the many. All I know is that this holds true for me, so perhaps for you too…
In a world where I feel a constant pressure to please, to overdo, to look good, to accomplish, to portray perfection… it’s ironic that the focus is to do so for strangers. I spend my time and efforts in maintaining appearances to those who know me least. As such, I’ve got it the wrong way around…
Because of all the eyes in the world, it’s the eyes of my parents that I value the most. For they’ve seen it all and still gaze at my beauty…
Of all minds that I’ve encountered, it’s my sisters that bares the most weight. For together we’ve grown outward into the world, and she’s journeyed inward with me to explore each crack in my mind, yet she still holds my hand to discover more…
Of all the things to stand for, it’s my brothers whose standing holds. For like pillars of support, they mark themselves ready for any foundation I lay, stand up for anything I say, and hold my frame strong when my back is turned…
Of all the people who’ve seen me, it’s my lover’s judgment that I see my reflection in. For he’s seen all of my scars, yet still runs his hands through my skin as if it’s the most sacred and flawless groundwork of marble he’s ever touched…
Of all the ears that listen to my words, hands that hold my embrace, minds that care to wonder off into mine, it’s my family’s whom I treasure the most.
Consequently, by regarding my loved ones as my most valued treasures, I place them in my treasure chest for safe keeping – the same chest which protects my beating heart. And just as the function of my heart, I treat their love as a sort of prerogative I am entitled to, without any upkeep. Quite simply, I already own the love of my family; it is within me, therefore I do not need to seek out for it. I do not need to try my best.
However, the regrettable truth that holds true for these treasures, is that I’m guilty of not making that extra effort to maintain it’s perfect condition. Instead I leave it laying in my chest, collecting dust, tethered to the unconditional ties that bind us.
It’s as if the closer I deem the people around me to be, the more I let myself take for granted the generosity of their affections. My degree of comfortability with them has caused their worth to be overshadowed with neglect. I don’t need to make an effort because I’m assured of their place in my heart and I in theirs. Self-assurance leads to reassurance, but a fact of love is that love is not a matter of fact. We must all exert ourselves and assert the value of the treasures in our hearts, for these family jewels truly mark our wealth.
It is the enlightenment of this entitlement that has allowed me to see that comfortability should not eclipse the necessity for upkeep. The love of my family should not be held as a guarantee or a lifetime promise, but a fortunate liberality of love that I must work to maintain, as I would if it were a friend whose opinions I expressly value, or a guest who I wish to show my best side to.
Because although it is commonly held that the world would be a better place if we treated strangers the way we treat those we love, perhaps we should consider that sometimes, we should treat our loved ones as though they were strangers we’re meeting for the first time; whose respect we must earn, impressions we must maintain, interest we must engage, and extend the consideration therein.
So, I’ve decided to try a little bit more; where I force a smile outside, I’ll keep the smile for home. Where I am dedicated to my craft, I’ll leave some time for those in my heart. Where I dress-up for outdoors, I’ll brush-up for indoors. Where I concentrate on my best for external judgements, I’ll preserve the effort for a while longer. Where I extend courtesy to those I do not know, I should never forsake kindness and manners to those that I do just for the sake of familiarity. Because they are the ones who deserve to matter the most.
So indeed, I should stop focusing on what other people think, and instead concern myself with strengthening my existing bonds and upholding the love that already exists around me, because those who’ve come to know our thoughts the most, love us not only despite it, but for it. And so it is their eyes which are deserving of all the best sides of us. It’s time to stop putting on a show for others and instead focus on a private screening: loved ones only.
Diary of a Deluded Heart
Written: June 29th 2015
Published: September 19th 2016