We Don’t Need to Save Face - Sage Hill Counseling

Tigers do not pretend that they are something other than tigers. When I have watched them walk about, they seem very content to be tigers. I am very aware of the tiger in the tiger, enough to stay out of their cages or watch out for them if I were ever in the jungle where they live. Giraffes, the same as to pretending; same with all things living. They don’t pretend; they can’t. Pecan trees don’t attempt to grow apples. Birds fly, fish swim, grass grows. All things alive reach for the expression of what they are. No pretending, no denial; in fact they are powerless to do otherwise. They all express exactly what they are. Their outsides match their insides. Humans, however, have the ability to attempt to do otherwise. Our “success” can become our failure.

We humans are the only creatures upon the face of the earth that can attempt to be other than what and who we are. We are the only creatures that can use our energy to hide our internal experience, especially capable of using our energy to make masks of our faces. We can exist in denial, we can pretend to feel something we do not, and we can lie about what is occurring within us. This ability allows us to fool people for the sake of protection and survival. The ability to use our faces to hide our hearts, though, can remove us from being fully human—unlike tigers being tigers, pecan trees being pecan trees that simply cannot do otherwise.

We are created to find fulfillment in relationship, and if we use our faces to hide our hearts, we remove ourselves from fulfillment. Hiding our hearts to protect ourselves can actually destroy us. Doing so can keep us from the fulfillment of being human, and prevent others from being fulfilled with us. The protection can become the destruction. The destruction is the isolation from being connected to other humans.

I work in the world of treating professional men who have addiction, anxiety, and depression. I remember asking one of the men about his father’s face. He sat for what seemed like a long time before he answered me. He said, “I do not remember my father’s face. He had no face. He did not look at me.” After another longer period of silence, the man began to cry hard, and said between his sobs, “My father had no face for me.” I knew what he meant. His father showed him little to nothing of his heart. His father didn’t even give this man/child the face of fury, which ironically, would have better than nothing. The man’s heartbreak, and a catalyst for his own addiction, was never seeing his father’s heart. He never got to have a connection that would have helped him be human, rather than run from his own human condition through addiction.

We need to continue to surrender to how we are created. We need to “lose face” so we can have relationship, rather than concentrate on “saving face” so that we can have power. The face is the doorway into the heart. The eyes really are the lamps that shine into the rooms of our inner condition. We need to let others we know that we are home.

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