Who really beats us up? Us!
Nobody can beat us up better than ourselves! We have the inside scoop on how we think and this helps us to justify what we do. Over the years we have listened carefully to what others have told said about us; much of what we say to each other, particularly within a family, is often in the negative. We even have our own laundry list of what is wrong with us: who we are, what we do, and how we think. Wow! That would be enough to drive any one to depression and anxious thoughts.
Why do we do this to ourselves? It is because we don’t see the whole picture. We only see a partial glimpse of our self, or perhaps a better word would be a telestial glimpse! One of the reasons is that we are all we have…at least that is what we think. Our thoughts are to us first! When we look in the mirror it is our eyes that look back at us first! It is our ears that hear the words that come out of our mouth first!
Glimpses from others that we take as truth
We all have had different glimpses from those closest to us. From the time we are small, we are part of many layers of life that takes place around us. Our parents and our own family; brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles join in those layers. We have our own family culture. The culture can be good, bad, normal or abnormal. We can even be a mixture of all those descriptive words. We have the financial culture that we grew up in; or the financial culture that we are in now. We have our religious culture; our heritage culture; and our educational culture. We just have layers upon layers of lines that have settled on us.
As you can see, a lot depends on those layers; how they settled on us and where and who they came from. We often have different faces for different groups, people, and situations. We can be absolutely horrible in our family relationships and act beautifully in our yoga class with all of our fellow classmates. We can be excellent workers at our jobs or our church callings, and be complete slouches at home. Or even better, or perhaps worse, we can try to be everything to everybody, all of the time. Whew!
Regardless of how we do it, we can be very hard on ourselves. Some of us do it mildly, others strenuously and some do almost a day to day blitzkrieg that would wear anyone out spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Some of us have had it most of our life, and others have had it due to situational difficulties that have come into their lives.
How do we look at these layers?
So how do we look at ourselves layer by layer? First, put on your brave button and be honest about the fact that you are being very hard on yourself. We get in cycles and often it is because of a look or a word from someone else that we interpret in the negative. Maybe it actually is. That doesn’t mean you have to internalize as truth. Depression and anxiety are the by-products of these types of cycles.
Heavenly Father Gives us a Hand
One young lady told me that she didn’t realize how negatively she saw herself until she started to write down her own view of self. She had grown up in a home that seemed fine, and then it became broken and so did her feelings about herself. She then entered into a relationship that also made her feel broken and so it added on to the rest of her feelings. It just started to pile up.
She decided that she had to see herself as Heavenly Father saw her. Did he just see a broken mess sitting on a couch crying all of the time? She felt so hopeless and so un-recoverable. She had no clue who she really was and what to do.
She then shared a wonderful experience. She had decided she needed to return to church no matter how worthless she felt. She felt that she literally oozed in under the church door, she felt so low. She would come in late and often sat outside in the foyer. She started to pray for hope and she started to add in her prayers the request to see herself in God’s eyes, not just her own.
Looking thru God’s Eyes
One night she awakened in a dream. She could see a beautiful young woman coming down a hill side that was covered in flowers and she was surrounded by children. It was beautiful and there was a purity and sweetness that was in this woman and as she kept looking, suddenly she realized she was looking at herself. It was her. It was who she really was! She, in and of herself, was full of goodness. She woke with a start and realized this was her Heavenly Father’s view of her. She had been good and she still was good.
With that, she realized that her view of herself, for a long time, had been the part that was broken. She knew now that she was not broken. Bruised, yes, but not broken. Yes, she was mortal on this very mortal world and needed to learn many things. Yes, she needed to repent but she was able and willing. She took self-help classes, received some counseling, but most important of all, she stayed close to her Heavenly Father and learned about Christ and the great gift that He is to all of us. I asked her if I could share her experience and she said emphatically “Yes!” She has shared it with many others and feels that she received it to share. Her hope is that her story will help others
Take time and take a look at yourself
We are here to be refined. We have to look at our own behaviors, but in a constructive way. We all have faults and weaknesses, but that does not mean that we are worthless. It just means we are here to grow. So, be brave and take a look. Before you take that look, bring your Heavenly Father into the process with you. He knows you better than any one does. He knows your potential and he knows your strengths and weaknesses. You could not have a better partner in this and a safer one
It is interesting how Heavenly Father can give us this clear view of ourselves without laying us out on the floor feeling stomped on. Almost always there is something we need to change which will help change the feelings or situations we are in. Usually, it starts with us. Our reactions or actions have to be looked at. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself pointed in a particular direction.
Keep your hand in the Hands of God
Our views of ourselves must include the Savior’s view of us. The world’s view has some accuracy, but it also never sees the whole picture. Let’s get to know ourselves the right way. We need to look at how we behave and how we think. We need to progress in our growth in this life, and life has a way of helping us along on this journey. We are vastly different at 40 than we are at 20. Life teaches us. The umbrella above us in this journey had better be Christ. He will guide us along. He will comfort us. He will make things uncomfortable sometimes when we become too complacent and not progressing. He will bind up the hurts and forgive us. O Happy Day. Isn’t it wonderful to grow?
So, see yourself, but keep your hand in the hand of God. Take some hard looks, and then change what needs to be changed. Repent of what needs to be repented of and act with confidence in the great plan developed just for us!