Not Being Able To See

In A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson, there is a scene, where the protagonist, Ellen is being interviewed by the principal of the boarding school where she has applied to be a housemother. At one point, he asks her what she fears. And she replies, “Not being able to see.”

Being blind isn’t what she meant. She meant being limited by something (prejudice, love) to be able to gain a clear perspective on a situation. Basically, she meant that she was afraid of being ruled by own emotions, her own fixed ideologies.

I’m sure that many of us struggle with this. There has been a time period in my life when I was so consumed by what was supposed to be, that I failed to see what actually was. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had problems with perfection. It was particularly bad during this period. I had such a clear vision of a Plan, that I couldn’t (wouldn’t) accommodate any curve balls. Admitting to myself that I tried something and failed isn’t easy for me. It’s not about other people; I don’t accept my own failures with an open mind. And this is the reason why I could only see my so-called “failures” instead of what I had actually achieved.

Today when I look back at that time, I realise that the situation wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t like my life was doomed if just one single thing went wrong. My plans weren’t that off-the-track that I couldn’t redeem. I know now, that I could have avoided a lot of pain, tears, irrational fears, had I been able to see.

Today has been one of those days. You know, when nothing seems to be going right. When your judgement is addled by mood swings. When your own view becomes so myopic  that everything seems a disaster. I was agonizing for half a day about what was going wrong with absolutely everything. For the major part of the day, I could only see the flaws.

And then I stopped. I decided to let life happen, in its own way.

It’s so easy to become lost in the perfect picture of the future. I’ve mentioned before that I make a conscious effort at trying to be in the present. It still doesn’t come that naturally. But I try.

I fear it too; not being able to see. Because I know what that kind of narrow-minded worry can do to me. Instead, I try to let out the steam; cool off, call up my mother and rant about people and things that she barely knows. But I try not to let that anxiety sit in my heart. It’s better to be annoying to others for a little while than harm yourself with worry. People who are close always understand.

6 thoughts on “Not Being Able To See

  1. I can definitely relate here. We have such high standards for ourselves that we can’t accept anything less. What I think is wonderful is that you are aware of this now. I wish I had been as wise at your age, instead of having taken all these years to realize that I should be more forgiving of myself, and to notice all that did not go wrong. Years of self-criticism and negative thinking really can do a lot of damage, so I think it’s great you are seeing so clearly now!


    • Thank you. Although this is easier said than done, I know that letting go of perfectionist tendencies is required for my well-being. And each day that I’m able to do this, I feel a little more peaceful, and a little more in control of myself.


  2. It is great that you understand the thing so clearly.As per J.Krishnamurthi,all worries have their existence because we do not see What is. Because of our unawareness we are all the times consumed by what should be.We have fixed ideas about every person including ourselves. what should be is only a hypothetical concept in our mind.We do not see the things as they are.To see the things as they are lot of awareness is required.And this awareness is spirituality,love and meditation.


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