How You See Yourself Matters
I have this distinct memory from when I was in kindergarten.
A kid was building a tower with this light weight, oversized building blocks that looked like bricks. He built it pretty high, taller than his own head, and then stood back proudly.
Another little boy was standing by watching all of it, and suddenly stepped forward and pushed the tower to the ground before walking away.
The kid who built the tower began to cry. The teacher came over and asked him what happened, but he was crying so hard he couldn't speak. I had seen the whole thing and was about to come forward with the truth when a little girl nearby suddenly pointed at me and said, "HE did it!"
I remember having to go sit in the corner despite my protests of innocence. The kid who built the tower said nothing in my defense, and just went back to rebuilding.
And now, forty-six years later I can remember that moment like it was yesterday. That's how deeply the sense of injustice and indignation was ingrained in me.
When we are unjustly accused, wronged or betrayed---the feelings that accompany those actions find their way into the deepest parts of us. And they can easily become part of the way we see ourselves, and the world around us.
If we are not careful, we can begin to see the world as against us somehow or that we are constantly on the outside looking in. We can go around looking for ways to be offended, or outraged. We begin to anticipate our failures. We expect to be betrayed or reviled.
But we don't realize that the world around us more often than not serves as a mirror... Christian mystic and teacher Anthony de Mello once wrote: "We see people and things not as they are, but as we are."
Jesus once said, "Unless a grain of wheat is buried and died, it cannot spring to life and grow."
Until we are able to let go of the unhelpful ways we see ourselves... Until we are able to bury our negative self talk... we will constantly find ourselves frustrated by our inability to be the people we long to be.
May you discover the truth about yourself---that you are God's cherished creation, beloved and wanted. May you see yourself as God's own. May you speak about yourself with life-giving words, tinged with hope and gratitude.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.