Usually at this time of year I am knee deep in New Year’s resolutions. Get organized. Lose weight. Save money. Learn something new. But this year I just feel differently.
You see, over the holidays I had a little ah-ha moment.
I was having a conversation with someone I had just met when I found myself saying something that was a distortion of the truth. It was an awkward little lie that I didn’t even notice I was telling. It just came to me in that moment and so I said it.
Later, after the noise and busyness of the day had died down, I began to think about that conversation and I felt sick to my stomach.
Why had I lied? Why? The more I thought about it, the more I recognized that my deepest hidden motivation was to look just a little better than I actually was. (The same reason I Photoshopped whiter teeth onto my Facebook profile pic.) Maybe if I was just a little bit better, I would be more impressive, more interesting, more worthy of friendship and love.
I was disgusted with myself. “Will I ever get over making stupid mistakes?” I wondered. I worked myself into a bit of self-loathing frenzy. There couldn’t be a person on Earth as thoroughly flawed as me.
In the midst of this torrent of emotion, I confided in my husband who is the most honest guy I know. I felt that he should have been horrified at me. He wasn’t. His words were kind and full of truth.
He said something along the lines of “lying is bad, it’s wrong, and requires repentance. But just because you made a mistake does not make you a bad person.” And then he connected the dots for me that outlined my real problem. It was the underlying factor to both my awkward little lie and the subsequent self-loathing. “It’s all because you are so hard on yourself,” he said. “You are nice to everyone else. But not to yourself.”
I knew this was true about me, but I didn’t know why–and I’ve been thinking about it A LOT.
Somewhere deep inside me is a struggle to believe in my own worthiness. And I don’t think I am alone. I think it is more or less a universal human problem. I worry that I am not good enough, that people would think less of me if they knew everything about me, that love and belonging must be earned. And, oh, how I want to be loved and to belong.
Because I struggle to believe in my worthiness, I set lofty goals and accomplish grandiose things. I work to be a better person every single day–all to prove something.
And it’s not all bad. I am here on Earth to learn and to grow, and that definitely takes effort. In fact, I’ve been commanded to do my very best. Stretching and striving are admirable, but worthiness does NOT depend upon them. I am already good enough to be loved and to belong. Right now. Today.
God loves me. And I belong to Him.
He is my unconditionally loving and affectionate father. He knew I could not be perfect and that is why He provided the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that I could access enabling power and forgiveness.
My Heavenly Father has been pretty clear about how He expects His precious children to be treated–with kindness, love, tenderness, forgiveness. He gave us the Golden Rule as a measure for our interaction with each other and even said that He receives the things we do for each other as though we were doing them directly for Him. Could this possibly apply to how I treat myself? Ah-ha!
If God cares as much about how I treat myself as He does about how I treat others, then some things in my life definitely need to change!
So this year I’m throwing traditional New Year’s resolutions out the window. In reality I will probably get less organized, gain weight and spend even more money than I did last year. After all, I’ve got eight kids in four schools and running in a dozen different directions. That’s a lot for a person to manage.
While I probably won’t overcome my weaknesses in 2016, I hope to accomplish something more significant. I hope to become a kinder person … to Me.
I’m going to listen carefully to my inner voice and do things that feel, although not necessarily easy, comfortable and right.
I’m going to be honest with myself about who I am and what I can realistically do. And I’m going to ask for God’s help every hour of the day.
I’m going to be my own cheerleader and resist the temptation to compare myself to others.
I’m going to relax and allow myself to enjoy the little things, even when they aren’t Pinterest perfect.
I’m going to own the entirety of my story–even the unflattering and unglamorous chapters– recognizing that my vulnerabilities remind me to seek for the one thing I really need, a relationship with God.
Yes. This year I am going to stop trying to prove that I am worth the space I take up on this Earth and just BELIEVE IT!