Friday, October 14, 2005

Another Epiphany

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise (2 Cor. 10:12)"

A long, long time ago, I posted something about feeling guilty and conscience and what not. Ok, not that long ago actually.

So last night, immediately after I posted my last post in fact, I stumbled upon something that smacked me right in the face and hit the nail on the head.

I found a little read called When We Don't Measure Up. It's from a Christian point of view so lots of Bible quotes. I guess it won't be useful for everyone. But trust me when I say that it's a great read and describes my situation 100% accurately.

At this point, I would love to write a summary. I'm not so good at that, but I'll put some passages that I liked. It's not in order, so it might be incoherent.

"A life filled with guilt over not measuring up is no way to live. It can drain us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, and leave us enslaved to the opinions of others."

" Near the core of our burden to please others is often a fear of disapproval or rejection.For many, this same kind of fear is rooted in early relationships where others angrily criticized or withdrew from them for not measuring up. They were made to feel they weren't the right gender or weren't smart enough, athletic enough, or thin enough. Some of us were made to feel as if we wanted too much love or involvement or praise. Whether people expressed their anger with a glare, an insult, or in manipulative tears, the message was loud and clear: "How can you be such a failure?" or "How dare you ask for so much?"

"Out of desperation, we secretly try to get what we want from people by living up to their expectations without letting them know what we're after or that we're even in need. Our fear of disapproval or rejection and our desperate craving for acceptance is part of the reason we try so hard to live up to the expectations of others and feel so guilty when we don't."

"There's no doubt that our strategies work, but for how long and to what degree? Can we totally escape our disappointment and protect ourselves from what we fear? Can we actually earn enough acceptance and approval to fill the emptiness in our hearts?

The answer, of course, is no. Our strategies are a poor investment. We get little relief, shelter, or satisfaction compared to the amount of time and energy we invest in them. Even worse, they drive us to the brink of exhaustion. We rarely relax or deeply enjoy life. We live under a tremendous pressure to make sure we don't let others down or become a burden. But we can't keep it up. Inevitably, someone sees us
as disappointing or needy."

"For those of us who are burdened with a sense of never measuring up, we can start facing the truth by admitting that while we have our faults, we have also been unjustly criticized and/or abandoned by significant people in our lives, and that their mistreatment or lack of involvement has deeply affected us. As a result, we struggle with fears and disappointments that otherwise would not be present to the degree that they are."

There's more. A lot more. And it's uncanny to read something that speaks so closely to what I feel like.

I was elated and shocked at the same time. That's just so typical of me. First I thought I had a problem with being sad and having a low opinion of myself and now I find that I also have a major problem with conscience. I didn't even know that it was a problem to begin with.

I kinda felt overwhelmed by the number of things I have discovered over recent years about myself. It also struck me that if I didn't blog, I would never have known all these things. As bad as things get sometimes, they could be a whole lot worse.

I'm looking for this book now, called False Guilt: Breaking the Tyranny of an Overactive Conscience by Steve Shores.

It's out of print unfortunately. Does anyone have a copy I can borrow/buy?

I'm kinda speechless right now for some reason.

In the end, the truth, the absolute truth about me and what I am will be the thing that sets me free. Will I find that truth?

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