Our third group session was a powerful one. It was about learning to be honest about who we are – with others and with ourselves. The four of us were told to write 5 positive things about ourselves on the whiteboard. Vera is… funny. That was my first one and it came easily. I struggled to come up with four more. One woman finished her 5 quickly, then our coach said, ‘OK, now write 5 things God would say about you.’ Meanwhile, I struggled to come up with four more, then grasped for 5 more (two of them were abilities not traits). When I wrote ‘pretty good singer’ Andrea said, “pretty good?” So I wiped out the adjective.
Then, we sat down, and each woman spoke another woman’s words to her. Vera, you are… Can I tell you how painful it was to hear those positive words spoken to me? (I’m crying now as I write this). When it was my turn and I spoke life-affirming words of truth over my beautiful group-mate, she had a hard time receiving the words and cried as well. Being the focus of attention, hearing the affirming words and receiving them was really hard for two of us. Interestingly, the other two shared squirmed a bit when hearing their positive attributes spoken over them, but were not pained by them. One of the women confessed that she had received a deep measure of healing in this area. She knew who she was and accepted it, yet still struggled at times in living it out.
I recognized that I am reluctant to attribute certain positive traits to myself because I don’t inhabit them, I merely visit. I’m compassionate – toward some people. I’m generous – sometimes. I’m honest – most of the time; I try not to lie but I will avoid or deflect when I cannot be honest.
As my mental wheels turned again this morning, I received these insights:
- I am my own worst critic and am far harder on myself than anyone else would be – certainly not God (and I am not alone in this; dare I see it is the curse of most women?)
- I embrace self-examination but don’t follow through on self-discoveries
- I seek to understand people (psychologically) so I can label them, categorize them, leave them in their box, then relate to them on that basis from then on
- I call myself ‘lazy’ but it would be more honest to call myself ‘passive and fearful’
- I cannot UNDO negative thinking, I can only REPLACE it with positive
Fears that bind us
We all have fears. Some are real – the result of things that happen to us in life. Others are things we have built up – out of wrong information, emotional responses to our perception of people or events, or lies that we have come to believe are true.
Having identified some of our fears, we will be looking at how to address them and overcome them. We will learn how to stop giving in to those fears and letting them control us so that, instead, we can more freely embrace the good plans God has for our lives.
Well said, Vera. I can see myself in what you’ve said here and it encourages me to be more honest with who I am so that God can make me who I need to be. 🙂
It’s a journey that each of us is on. This group is helping me to get past my ‘stuck’ places and move forward. Peeling another ‘layer of the onion’ of healing, including the cleansing tears. I highly recommend it 🙂
Know thyself. Wasn’t it Jesus who said this? So hard to do. That is what being human is all about: conscious self-awareness. I think all of us have positive and negative traits. I work every day of my life on mine and am not sure I have mastered any of my faults like anger, materialism and judgment. But then I try to be grateful for my good traits. It is sad to think so few of us hear praise any more. All we get from others is superficiality. It would be nice to have people know us well enough to give finely tuned feedback, but everyone is self-absorbed. We have to give it to ourselves. Hugs, Vera! You are heads above most people I know, be assured.
I have never shied away from self-reflection, but I’m being surprised. Things I thought I had dealt with and forgiven still stir my emotions. Our coach is good because she encourages us to ‘go there’ into the hard painful places. She asks good (gently probing) questions and we surprise ourselves with the answers. I’m feeling the pain of things I have kind of frozen – it’s a fragile process, going deeper layer by layer. Too many people stay in the outer layers because it feels safer. But it’s a sad and unsatisfying way to live. I’m loving this process! Hugs back to you, Beth, my kind and affirming and beautiful friend 🙂