Being Real

When I was a small child I was for real, I was true to myself. Then I grew up, and somewhere along the way I learned to pretend. Basically I thought that I needed to be someone else to be loved, liked and successful. But even if I could pretend I was someone I wasn’t with others, I could never fool myself. I knew better, and therefore I didn’t love, like or approve of myself. I had so little love for myself, I’ve had to ask my heart for forgiveness later on. I hurt myself. It took me some time to learn to trust and love myself again.

Believing we’re not important, lovable, beautiful, etc., is so destructive, yet oh, so common. Look around and you’ll see it spill all over the place. Or, maybe you won’t even have to look around to find this belief.. ?

For years tried to prove myself, to others, to God, to myself even. I always improved, but never enough to fill the void on my inside. No matter how far I reached, total success was just out of reach.

Not long ago it dawned on me how little I know myself. I hadn’t allowed myself to have needs and wants for such a long time. I asked myself,

“What do I like?”

“What do I need?”

“What am I passionate about?”

These questions were hard to answer. It was hard for me to come up with any, or just a few “likes”, “needs”, and “passions” that I was certain about. Some things seemed so shallow, so meaningless. Then there were other things I felt I should feel passionate about, but wasn’t.

I had to come to terms with that, and it took me a while. I felt disappointed with myself, and a little despairing too, having a hard time finding anything at all that I could see myself being passionate about for more than a short season. The way I felt, Heaven would be like Hell in this state.

Slowly but steady, however, I got to know myself better. It was as if my heart crept out of its shell after being in hiding for a long time. I realized that I did indeed like a lot of things, but maybe not what I had thought. I had to be honest with myself and agree that there were things I felt that I should like, such as for instance being in the lime light, or preaching, that I didn’t like at all. I haven’t quit doing these things, and I will probably keep doing them, but I honestly would feel better about someone else doing it, and I’m more and more ok with admitting that.

I realized I had several needs that were being unmet, such as enough sleep, a good bed, or having good boundaries in certain relationships. Eventually I learned to love myself better, and acknowledge that I do indeed have needs. I’m not entitled to these, and I don’t expect to always having my needs met, but I now acknowledge that my needs are there, and that they are important, even if I sometimes (often) have to put my needs aside for someone or something else.

God created us with needs, for love, for community with each other. For us to help each other meet each others’ needs.

When you ask yourself, are you able to answer:

“What do I like?”

“What do I need?”

“What am I passionate about?”

If not, you should sit down and find out. Find out who you really are, appreciate and love yourself, and you’ll get so much further.

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