Have you ever found yourself gazing across the table at someone else’s Starbucks cup wondering, “What is she drinking?”
It’s hard to tell from the outside of the cup what’s on the inside – unless of course it’s an iced drink then you have better chances of guessing correctly. I think it’s this way with people too. We tend to form our first impressions and ideas of who someone is off outer elements of their personality or their circumstances, which may or may not be true. This week I discovered regardless of whether someone assumes I’m drinking a vanilla latte or a regular coffee, what remains true is what’s inside my cup.
There are a few people in life that I admire, truly respect. People I would consider heros in one way or another. And for some reason, I desperately want them to know what’s in my cup. I guess I want to be known and accepted. I had the privilege of having dinner with a woman that I deeply admire. I am working on a project with her and I so desperately want her to like me. I want to be like her. I want her to validate all that is good and noble about me – and not see the bad. I want her to see my potential and for her to praise me for it. This week I think if I receive all these things from this one woman in particular then I’ll be complete.
A funny thing happens to me in these situations – when I’m around people I look up to. I get quiet. I put the lid on my cup and disclose as little as possible, ironically it’s the opposite of what I’m craving – to be known! Fear and self-doubt cloud my thinking and I am unable to allow others in. I think this must be incredibly frustrating to the person who’s trying to know me. I often walk away from those conversations feeling less of who I am.
The day following my dinner with this woman who I dearly respect, I ran into someone at a conference who I recognized but to be honest, I didn’t know her name. She seemed to seek my attention. And though I didn’t necessarily find an instant infinity with her I decided this was my opportunity to try to get to know her. To tell the truth I was not initially interested in “what she was drinking” but I forced myself to ask the question.
Everyone wants to be known on some level. I want to take the time to learn about what’s in someone’s cup because I care, because I am interested just in the same way I want others to know me. And when another person’s opinion of me is important to me – and when they miss seeing the most flavorful part of me – I want to remember it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. I know, I know… it should not matter what anyone thinks. The more I know the truest parts of me, the more it won’t matter.
By the way…most days I’m drinking a vanilla mocha, non-fat with whip!
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!