I remember my son noticing his fingers for the first time. It was fantastic. Lying with his back on the living room carpet, his nubby fingers twirled in front of his eyes like a VeggieTales baby carrot dance number. He used those hands to discover his swollen feet and folded his body to feed minion toes to a monstrous mouth (something he had discovered much earlier). Sitting like Buddha in the bathtub one day, he leaned forward to catch a glimpse of his man junk. He couldn’t see the shriveled wet willy past his mountain of a belly, and he kept rolling forward with every attempt. Still, at twelve months, he hasn’t figured it all out. As he hunts down every inch of his tubby self, there is at least one feature he has not yet found. His forehead. It hunkers down in hiding above his eyes.
The poor kid can’t figure out why he is unable to waltz beneath the dinner table. He can see his hands, his feet, his belly, even his junior if he sucks in, but what he can’t see is that ever so stealthy forehead that perches on top like a frightened cat. Imagine the disappointment as he runs ecstatically to the next discovery with wide eyes and an eager smile only to be clotheslined mysteriously. For all he knows, his head stops above his eyebrows. He sees what he sees; what he sees is his reality. His forehead is a blind spot, and being unaware of it, he has achieved many impressive battle wounds.
As a parent, it is an entertaining wonder to watch children become self-aware. It is apparent that the journey of self-discovery starts in each of us as early as only a few months old. But no one can ever become fully self-aware. Like my son’s forehead, we all have our blind spots, those nagging habits in each of our lives that get us into trouble, that hurt us or others, that hide away from our sight while everyone else watches us get clotheslined by life.
As I write this, I wonder what my blind spots are. Certainly this post would be more powerful, influential, and relatable could I write about my personal experience. But, as I sit in my chair, sip a black coffee, and tap away on the keyboard, I can’t think of anything. I can only see what I can see. Like most of us, I tend to favor my own opinions, my own approach, and my own beliefs thinking that I’m generally in the right. But I need community–trusted people in my life to help me address my blind spots so that I can live freely and learn how to be the best version of myself. I think of my wife, my best friends, and older, wiser men as those to whom I could give the opportunity to speak into my life.
This advice is as much for me as it is for anybody: give trusted people the freedom to help you find your forehead. Give them the voice to speak into your blind spots. Welcome them into the journey of self-discovery. We all have our blind spots, and it’s better to recognize them appropriately (and sooner rather than later) than to keep getting clotheslined by life and not know why.