I recently changed banks. When I saw the official stamp, Account Closed, I had an existential thought: Which one of my internal accounts has been liquidated? Have I just been freed of some debt that I incurred in another lifetime? Maybe this life is about to change for the better. But how would such a recalculation manifest itself?
I am in love with my new bank. They call me by name when I walk in. They say, “Good morning!” and smile. “What can I do for you today?” they ask. I like this new attention that is directed toward me. But I am beginning to think my neighborly affection is pointing toward a bigger truth: If the bank teller’s greeting makes me feel prosperous, it is because I enjoy being seen.
In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve attempt to eclipse themselves from God’s view after having disobeyed the instruction not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. When God asks, "Where are you?" Adam responds, “I was afraid … and I hid myself.” From the beginning, knowledge came with self-doubt: As soon as Adam was aware of his humanness, he saw himself as flawed.
We all hide from others because we are ashamed, or we don’t feel competent, or others make us feel invisible. We hide for fear that we will be rejected, yet we crave to be seen by others through an unconditional lens, with reverence. Every acknowledgement brings us out of the shadows of our own vulnerability and into the light. This feeling is not tied to anything we own or any wealth we amass.
My recalculation, then, goes something like this: I, too, need recognition from others to remind me of my worth. But I am also learning, little by little, to see myself as a person of value. And of this I am certain: It has nothing to do with my bottom line, and everything to do with the richness of my spirit.