“We spend our lives only partially seeing ourselves and others, and being partially seen by them in return. When we fall in love, we hope — both egotistically and altrusitically — that we shall be finally, truly seen: judged and approved. Of course, love does not always bring approval: being seen may just as well lead to a thumbs-down and a season in hell (the problem, and the paradox, lies in the lover having enough of a sense of judgement to choose a beloved with such a reciprocal sense of judgement as to approve of the lover). In the old days, we could comfort ourselves that human love, even if brief and imperfect, was but a foretaste of the wonder and perfect vision of God’s divine love. Now it’s all that we’ve got, and we must make do with our fallen status. But still we long for the comfort, and the truth, of being fully seen.”
From one of my favorite books, Nothing to Be Frightened Ofby Julian Barnes.