“Yea, I know he doesn’t have a job and has a temper, but, honestly, he has a side you don’t see. He has so much potential.”
“I get why my friends call her a ‘bitch’ but, honestly, when she calls me ‘pussy’ or tells me to “grow balls,” to me, it’s like her way of motivating me to step up as a man.”
We’ve all heard the expression, “looking through rose-colored glasses.” It’s often used in reference to seeing another person as we want them to BE rather than the reality of who they ARE.
Unfortunately, those rose-tinted glasses often don’t come off until after much pain forces us to remove them. Or they are essentially ripped off our eyes by truths we can no longer minimize, rationalize or deny.
So why do so many of us or our friends don rose-colored glasses in relationships? Is it because we’re good people prefering to see the best in others? Or because our mates are really good at hiding their flaws? Or because we are just super empathetic by nature?
There is truth to those reasons. But there is also a deeper reason. A truth having nothing to do with our mates, our empathetic natures or even love.
Patterns of minimizing, ignoring or rationalizing the “red flags” within our relationships are often rooted in a need to be loved. It is a need often born in a childhood where feeling valued, appreciated and loved was either not met or not consistently shown to us.
When our need for love, for belonging and for validation was not met as kids we were unconsciously thrown into survival mode. Those rose-tinted glasses become just one of our survivalist tools. We don these glasses for two reasons: A desperate attempt to procure from others that which we were not given as children & to avoid the intense pain of realizing our longing began years before we ever met that latest lover who had “so much potential.”
The problem, however, arises when those glasses come off and we feel shame. “I did it again. I’m so stupid. I’m broken.” We wage war on ourselves and shame is the vein that runs through every self-critical thought.
But if we’re to stop a painful relationship pattern, we must look at this need for love and the shame we carry when that need is continually not met. We must ask ourselves, whose shame are we carrying? Is it truly our shame? Or the shame of the lover who lied, cheated or withheld information to procure our trust, our devotion and our love? Shame on him! Not you.
And what of the shame of our caregivers when we were young? Are we carrying the shame of a mother who ignored our cries for attention in favor of getting high off alcohol, drugs or the love of a man? Or maybe that deep shame that envelopes us as our glasses drop to the floor is that of the shame belonging to the father who left us to start a new family, or who used our young bodies to gratify his sexual needs or to expend his rage at others upon us?
No one is born gripping a pair of rose-colored glasses in their tiny newborn hands. We create these glasses to survive. To see the reality of whom the shame really belongs to is to also expose ourselves to the pain we have avoided. The first time we put on those glasses was when we were children who were ill-equipped to absorb the reality of our caretakers’ unloving behaviors. Survival was at stake.
But it’s not our shame to carry. Never was.
To face the realities that necessitated the wearing of those glasses can only be done through clear eyes. It will be painful at first and doing so under the care of a therapist is highly recommended.
But when we begin looking at our lives through clear eyes, something amazing happens. We begin to see more than the painful realities of our unavailable mates and dysfunctional parents. We begin to see the joyous wonders of a life beyond our imaginations. A life unburdened under the heavy weight of denial and of shame belonging to others. We realize that the rose-colored glasses are no longer aiding us but, in fact, blinding us. For the first time in our lives we have sight.
And with this new sight, we begin to create new visions for ourselves.
I write from my heart so others may not feel alone. Please feel free to share with those you feel may benefit.