I wrote in my maiden-voyage post that I spent half a year examining my motives for starting a blog. Somewhere in the early stages of this, one of my best friends asked me what that says about what I think of myself. This gave me some serious pause; apparently not enough pause to stop doing it, but still, pause. Another friend shared a quote recently that struck the same slowing note in me:
Overthinking is a lack of self-trust.ASHLEY BEAUDIN
These instances illuminated a truth I’ve been learning: I don’t trust myself. I think my motives are bad and my heart is wicked.
People, on the other hand, tend to think I’m something special. It seems that being a foster parent makes me a unique, admirable breed of person. I have lots of things to say about that, but perhaps I’ll save that for another time. For now I’ll say this: it makes me exceptionally uncomfortable. This is because I know that I am so different from what people think.
I know that I’m a wife who is really quite bad at all the wife, homemaker stuff. I know that I’m a mom who loses her temper and a friend that drops the ball much too often. I know that I gossip and complain, I make small in my mind the people who intimidate me, and I nurture all sorts of the wrong things in my heart and thoughts. I have a really hard time following through with things and I let go of things I should hold onto (or I don’t let go of things that aren’t mine to keep!). I’ve made some really big mistakes in my life, the kind of mistakes I wish I could keep hidden from everyone forever.
The thing that people see in me that makes me seem like something special is, in fact, very counterintuitive for me. A life of risk and selflessness is really not my preferred, naturally inclined cup of tea. The thing that people see in me that makes me seem like something special is the thing that I hold out awkwardly as a foreign part of my being. True, it’s ever so slowly integrating into me as I am ever so slowly transforming into my intended, created image. But it’s not my default character and shouldn’t be credited to me as such.
I say all this not as some form of false humility or self-criticism. I’m actually just presenting myself as I am. I need to recognize where I must grow. I need to know where I’ve hurt others and myself and own those mistakes. That’s important.
But the question is this: how do I be who I am now and love her fully, while also knowing I was born and reborn to be so much greater than her? How do I hold my failures loosely and forgive myself fully? Because, really, I’m not so good at that (as you may have ascertained from the “my heart is wicked” thing).
The answer, in practice, is that I don’t know. In theory, I could talk about Dialectal Behavioural Therapy and “radical acceptance.” I could point to scriptures, devotionals, podcasts, books, and time in the elusive “secret place.” And I think all of those things are, in theory, the answer. But in reality? I’m kind of stuck.
I remember a time when I liked me. It was over half my life ago. These days I’m not sure that I know how to function as someone who likes herself! So as I’ve been standing on the precipice of this process for a long time, I wonder if I even want to like myself. My self-criticism serves as a check against things I don’t want to be, so I kind of want to keep it. But it’s not really a kind friend and its voice doesn’t sound like love. Remember how I said that I sometimes don’t let go of things that aren’t mine to keep? I think this is one of those things.