You can tell a lot about a person by the way they describe the people in their lives. Some start with describing them physically while for others a physical feature isn't even mentioned. Some talk about the experience of being around them, how the person makes them feel when hanging with them, while others have never even pondered that question. I always find myself captivated by how Sarah describes the people closest to her...she's not alone in the way she does it, but she is unique as to the depth from which her perspective is coming.
For Sarah, her description centres around their character, from who they ARE as a person. How they make her feel isn't mentioned. Why? Well because it's irrelevant. Her feelings aren't accountable to the people surrounding her, they are accountable to her; to her choices. Sarah knows that. She knows better than relying on others for her happiness, expecting them to create it for her. I've known this beautiful, wise lady for almost ten years now yet wouldn't have a clue what any of her friends visually look like. Why? Probably because she didn't choose to make friends with someone based on the colour of their hair or what size jeans they fit into. Like I said...she's a wise woman.
Are you thinking right now that she's instead chosen people who have great morals? Amazing values? People who challenge her to be the best she can? Well yes she has. But no, we haven't reached the point I'm getting to here yet. We have to keep digging a little deeper to reach Sarah's depth.
While I've never seen Sarah with her circle of friends it's easy to pick that she is the nucleus of the group. The heart. The glue. The strength that holds everyone together. That is not a role that gets handed to just anyone. What is it about her that she's become worthy of such a position?
The answer is evident in her conversations. When she talks it's clear that Sarah loves the people closest to her, that she would be there for any of them in a second if they were in need. It's clear that she loves spending time with them and regularly invests into these friendships with more than just her presence. Above all, it's very clear that she see's the many layers, both positive and negative, within a person...and chooses to love them anyways.
As humans we so often have people in our lives when things are good but then block them when things aren't. We so easily enjoy hanging with them when they make us feel good or are doing something for us. What about when they are doing something wrong? What about when they have hurt us? What about when you know they are off their path?
Do you still love them?
Do you see through the actions, separating them from the person in front of you?
Only a few visits ago I took Sarah's hair too short around the front (hey, don't judge me...we're talking about a few extra millimetres off after all). The next visit I received a warm look; an accepting look; a forgiving look; while the words 'I was cursing you this month, everytime my hair fell out of the ponytail' exited her mouth. The message she was portraying? 'Beth, I still love you, and I forgive you, just get it right this time for me please.'
That's rare in the hairdressing world. You stuff up (which FYI is always by accident) and the next thing you know your client hasn't returned. You don't get to find out why. You don't get a chance to correct it. What you get is silence, followed by those nasty feelings of rejection. Following that is confusion...the niggling question wondering what you did wrong that you somehow have to deal with, making peace that it will never be answered, that you will never get a chance to resolve it. Have you had that happen with a person in your life before? Had questions that were not resolved? Does it still bother you? Try having it happen with a few people per week, compounding every week of every year of your career. It's not long before you really learn to appreciate the clients that are honest with you. It's not long before you have immense gratitude for the people in this world who forgive you for slipping up and give you another go.
It's probably strange to the non hairdressers to realise how special forgiveness is in our world...is there really any aspect in life where we as humans don't crave forgiveness though?
I can't begin to describe how good it feels to have someone see through the mistake you've made to the person you actually are within your heart and make the decision to forgive you; to decide to love you regardless. The value and understanding that is shown to you in that action is beyond beautiful. The self sacrifice of the other person overcoming their own fear to believe in you again is so precious it's hard to put into words.
In all of this though is the one who is forgiven the only one receiving a beautiful gift? No, not at all.
You see, the thing is that love doesn't come from us 'deserving' it. If it did we would have a very sad world as not one of us has been perfect in our behaviour to then 'deserve' love. Love comes from another person making a CHOICE to love.
Love actually gets tested...a lot. Both parties are growing during a testing process but I think the person who grows the most is the one who chooses to forgive and love anyway. They get the beauty of growing personally which IS the goal of life after all. The person who is forgiven learns, understands they are still valuable and has the courage to move onto the next task ahead of them.
How much beauty comes from these tests! How powerful when we realise love is a choice and the choice is OURS.
Sarah is a person who time and time again has been tested in this area. She's a person who's conquered the lesson because she's made the choice to love. That choice has in turn made her wiser, stronger and in effect even more beautiful. Sarah is the kind of person who is seeing this beauty manifest in the people around her because her developed wisdom draws it out of them. I wonder if she understands that. Only yesterday she was telling me about the amazing man her son is growing into...does she understand it's her courage to grow that's shown him the way to do the same?
It's people like Sarah that not only make us want to be better people, but they also inspire and strengthen us to be better by showing us the way. It's that example, that love, that has earned her the nucleus position within her group.
Failure is such an essential part to growth, so much so that if we really understood how powerful and helpful the lessons that failure brings to our life are we would run at it with open arms. Why then do we fear it? Because generally in this world failure is followed by judgement. From others, and even from ourselves. Judgement is crippling. Judgement is painful. Judgement is a prison over your life that's very difficult to break from. When it's in our life we don't grow. We instead become consumed with our own 'ugly' and that's where life stops.
People like Sarah are the ones that pull you from that prison by creating a space where you can once again get up, dust yourself off and move on. They do this by reflecting love upon you, highlighting to you your good points and showing to you that failure is something that happened to you but it is not YOU! They also do this by having the courage to have the conflict with you in the first place, knowing that our need to be made aware of it far outweighs their fears of raising the issue with you. Imagine how many hairdressers would be further developed in their skills if every client openly, (and lovingly!) confronted them with where they could improve? When this process it's done correctly, in any relationship, the depth of the relationship increases as you are now not only humbled, but you have found a person in life who you can trust, knowing that they see the ugly within you and love you regardless.
If one person can be such a great support in life by doing this image how beautiful and free it would be to live a life surrounded by a society that forgave and loved without question?
Imagine how it would feel if you consistently lived this heart and headspace for yourself...to yourself.
Thank you Sarah, for having self awareness, self responsibility and self accountability. Thank you for every painful lesson you have pushed through growing yourself in the process. Thank you for not being a victim of the world and instead being a light. Thank you for all the lives you have touched by understanding the value of another.
All For Mary - Creative Director
Take a look at all of Sarah's images here.
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