“Not listening.” Something I have struggled with throughout my life. Purposely shutting my ears off. Shutting people out. Not wanting to hear the other person.
As I’m growing older, I find myself at times wandering off as I’m listening to others speak. My brain begins to focus on a thought and I totally miss what I was trying to hear. I need to work on that and regain focus! But that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about the time when I purposely would tune people out because I had thought I knew, well, pretty much everything I needed to know in order to be myself. The opinions were not welcomed, the constructive criticism was an instant reproach in my mind and the knowledge was something I could gain on my own. The teachers were, even though more educated than myself, only berating me. I felt nothing but shame when I didn’t already know things of importance.
I eventually began to realize that the feelings of belittlement I would have when I didn’t already know something that others had were a complete waste of energy. I began to realize that it was okay. Instead of beating myself up, I would just pick up the knowledge and move on.
But why did I feel these feelings of inferiority? As if I was ‘less than’ because I ‘didn’t know?’
I believe it is a false belief I formed early on within my life, in childhood, which carried over into my adult life. An inferiority complex? A poor self-image when gazing into my own mirror? No matter what label I place on it, the false belief was cutting me into little pieces. I felt as if the whole world was laughing at me, and the fight or flight reaction was to literally be a beast. A beast who wouldn’t give others a chance to help me reach a beneficial place. A place that would help me begin to heal. To help me fight off the unhealthy traits I possessed. The unhealthy thought patterns and junk I had within me that made me a standoffish, short-fused ball of anxiety. I had to begin to listen.
It was not an easy task; getting ready to open myself up to learning the hard truths about myself. When one is deliberately taking steps to modify themselves, it can be a very scary experience. Here I was, taking on a task of learning things that I should have learned during developmental years, childhood and teen years. My inferiority complex mixed with that fear was like stepping into a pit of lions! But, it was a necessary pit. I was at a point in my life where I was consistently losing myself. Literally. I was losing people whom I loved. My anger and frustration was running my life. I needed something, but really didn’t know what that something was? It wasn’t until someone very dear to me told me that I needed to change in X-ways did I finally listen.
Sometimes we need to step back and take a look at ourselves. We have to be willing to learn some hard truths about who we truly are. If we are hateful, we need to find out why. If we are ashamed, we need to get to the root of it. If we refuse to face our mirror and truly see who we are at each present time of viewing, we may not reach a fuller potential. That limited potential, accompanied by the unhealthy thought patterns and the nasty things we tell ourselves may eat us up from the inside out. The kaleidoscope that we peer through, full of those things that destroy us, distorts the clear view of who we are. The fear, inferiority, sadness, shame, the good and bad, learned behaviors, the things we never learned and the many things that make us human are all things that we need to observe in order to see that clear view. Kudos to those who already have that within. I, for one, have to work a bit harder than others.
My childhood was not a good one, but I have learned that those days are not what defines me today. I have learned that what does is what I choose to place before my mirror. Listening to others is imperative, without judging those who speak, as well as not judging myself as I listen. Some information is needed. Some isn’t. Everything that I take in is filtered through the inner peace that is found in Christ, and that peace is what keeps my grounded as I peer through my personal kaleidoscope. That clear view of who I am is defined by He who dwells within me as I gaze into my personal mirror. Those anxieties and distortions are made easy by his yoke. His words fill my heart with a comfort that wasn’t there as I fought through it all before.
I pray this morning that you know that Lord will be your shepherd as you learn to remedy what ails you. Jesus said, “Fear not.” Read this…
I pray the things that you see within yourself, those things that keep you from seeing the clear view within your own mirror, are found and filtered through our Lord Jesus. I pray that you listen to His voice. I pray that you listen to the right voices that will lead you to a better you. A better view of yourself.