The Looking Trap

by Neale Donald Walsch -

It is amazing how many people are caught in the trap of being deeply concerned with how things are looking to others. Keeping Up Appearances has become, for some, an obsession.

Many of us will even give up our own happiness (or our chance at it) in order to keep "looking good" in the eyes of others. This is beyond sad. It is tragic.

It is tragic because all we have is the Time of Our Life. It is the essential gift. It is the treasure of treasures. And it is not infinite, but finite. Indeed, it could run out at any moment.

During this Time of Our Life we should be having the time of our lives. 

Instead, many of us are living lives of dulled acceptance-and some are even living lives of quiet desperation.

Waiting, waiting, for what, we know not. Just something, anything, other than what is going on right now or at least richer, fuller, grander. Because there's something missing and we dare not name it or the name itself will do us in.

It is, of course, love. 

We are lacking in love, and we are dying inside. We are lacking in someone TO love, and we are lacking in someone loving us. And who we are lacking in loving us is, in the supreme irony, ourselves.

Not finding it possible to love ourselves exactly as we are and exactly as we would like to be "showing up" if we could do whatever we wanted, we do, instead, whatever "others" want us to do, in order to acquire the love for which we so desperately yearn. We pay utmost attention to how we are looking.

I call this The Looking Trap. 

In it we are so confined in our thinking, so caught up in our appearances, so imprisoned in our outlook, that we have no outlook at all. We cannot look out of our own self-made prison. We cannot see over the walls of our own need for approval.

The Looking Trap binds people to the rigidity of what others would choose for them. 

It ties them down, limits their choices, dramatically alters their course, and all in the name of pleasing others even as the self is never pleased. Meanwhile, Time-that most precious of all life's treasures-is running out.

You will never see this day again. You will never again see this week, this month, this year again. You will see this time only during the moment you are living it. Be sure, then, that you ARE "living it." Try very hard not to be killing it. There shall be time enough after death to experiencing dying.

It is time now to experience living. It is time now to spring free of The Looking Trap. 

Spring free, my soul!
Spring free, spring free!
And give me back, right now, to me.
I shall not see the time I took
To fret and stress o'er how I look.
I shall not have these days again.
For this is Now, and that was Then.

What's gone is past, yet all's not lost.
I'll seize this day, forget the cost.
I'll seize this time, forget the price.
I'll seize this Now, and throw the dice!
My gamble's won before the toss,
For now I have become the boss!

My life's my own, my choices, mine.
I'll take a stand, I'll draw the line.
No more! No more will I grant you
The power to influence what I do.
No more! No more I'll keep from me
The very things that set me free!

This day I claim again my choice.
This day I give myself a voice.
And how I look to you is not
Of my concern and so you've got
No more power to wield o'er me.
My God, it's true! I've set me free!