Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thought for Tuesday of Holy Week

It is time to admit that I have a problem. Come a bit closer; I don't wish to shout. I have a problem with me. It's this, and it's uncommon. I like me. This wretchedly skinny despite all my best efforts, proportionless body and it's stutteringly functioning thought system; I like it. At least it has dress sense and a good haircut.

I speak to so many people who don't like themselves, who want to change cosmetically or behaviourally. And the thing I find I want to say more than anything else is, 'Where did this self-loathing come from?' Is the Christian Gospel to blame? Have we so indoctrinated the world with worm theology (I am a worm and no man) and all have manifoldly and wickedly sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, that we have undermined all the preciousness of being made in the likeness of the creator and thus beautiful.

In this most special of weeks, where we recall with sadness and joy one dead man walking, let us remember that we have been freed from the slavery of sin, however that works for us individually. You are OK. You are fine. You are the best you there is and I am the best me.

You don't have to loathe yourself. If someone says, 'No' it shouldn't turn your world upside-down. Rejection is just eliminating one more thing from your enquiries. You should see the amount of publications I have eliminated from my enquiries over the last four and a half years. All of them wrong of course. They should have risked it. If you can't get through the door marked 'No' then try another one.

If we are free, unique and special then we ought to behave with a bit more gusto. Not obnoxiously arrogant but confidently happy being us. Life in all its fullness must be a bit more than this. Mustn't it?

Well I'm off to do some ironing now but when I get back I'll expect you to have grown up. A bit. Give me your name, rank and serial number and tell me...

What do you like about you?

'These days someone as nice as me is hard to find.' (Airhead from Boing! 1990ish)


anna p said...

Ah, but here is the dilemma so many of us face:

"I like myself quite a lot but I don't think other people understand me well enough to know just how good I am.

And if I tell them that I like myself, they'll find me even more annoying."

The solution is to go around saying to yourself and others: 'I'm awful'. This has three effects.
1. it discourages everyone, including yourself, from making demands of you
2. it veils your arrogance
3. it tricks others into feeling unthreatened by and therefore pretending, at least, to like you

If we all behave in this way, we can successfully hide the fact that, actually, it's other people we don't like.

St said...

Blimey you're complex Mrs P. I'll have to go and sleep on that lot.


I was just going to say 'Amen'
... then I read the comment from anna p and I realise I am hopelessly simple...

Caroline said...

I totally recognise Anna's comment - I've been doing that for years!

the trouble is that you start to believe, at a hidden level, what you're saying about yourself.

It's funny that you wrote about this, st. I've just posted about a similar point on how I'm learning to hear God saying to me

"You are altogether beautiful, my love
there is not flaw in you."

has become an important way of me enjoying myself. I don't normally spiritualise the Song of Solomon, but on this occasion...

but to answer your question, st. What do I like about myself?

..that I'm good at encouraging others.

..have I mentioned before what an enjoyable blog you have?

.. sometimes I'm even sincere :-)

St said...

Ok Anna, I think I get it. And here is the thing. There is a difference between liking yourself and acting confidently as such and behaving as if you are right all the time. I am often wrong, have (as you say you do) a slightly self-deprecating attitude and yet am happy for people, to know that I am OK by me. It enables me to own my failures and say, 'Yup, that was me, sorry folks, what's next?'

I can confidently assert my ignorance (and often do). I like this about me. Few people do it.

There is a fine line between that and over-confidence, but over-confidence does enable you to say yes to things you can't really do and then to have to learn to do them pretty smartish. Which has made my life a bit of a ride at times.

One of the things about being a 'generalist' is that you become slightly above average at lots of things but not great at any of them. You appear brilliant in an average crowd and are shown up for the charlatan you really are when an expert turns up.

Mike Peatman said...

I share your generalist reputation, Steve. People have a mild expectation that I will know stuff about all kinds of things, ranging from software (OSX & Win), electrical appliances, cars, tax forms (actually gobbledegook to me) to sport, art and architecture.

I like the fact that I inspire this confidence, but sometimes wish for the peace of someone known as having no ability/expertise in a particular area.

Wantage Wanderer said...

Blimey to all of you! The task is not to let our clear imperfections (oh, yes - very clear in my case) make us wish to change the person / personality / uniqueness in ourselves? The WW is a layman, and all this thinking is making my head hurt a little!

Lydia said...

Anna -
I've spent at least 20 years doing that. It's a very consistent and compelling attitude (possibly especially for women??) The trouble is, I don't think it works. I am left with a feeling that people are, as you say, only pretending to like me. Even if they did genuinely like the me I portray, they wouldn't actually be liking the me that I really am.
Anyway, if I'm really honest, I find it rather irritating when people keep presenting themselves as awful, so I suspect maybe some of them feel the same way about me when I do it.
More recently, having discovered to my surprise that the most catastrophic rejection of my life was actually the gateway to the best stuff God has ever done for me, I have been learning that I can be confident. I can allow myself to let that confidence show in front of other people. I can use the gifts I've got. I am no longer trapped in doing only the mundane and undemanding - which is essentially passivity. If people don't like me, it doesn't matter, because people's approval is no longer the source of my identity.
You know what? Life is a whole lot scarier, but it's loads more fun. :-)