The next is our self-perceptions. Many of us have insecurities and doubts about ourselves that impede our self-growth. How we perceive ourselves is so crucial. It effects how we interact with others, go about our daily tasks and plan for the future. We can feed ourselves with positive self-talk or counterproductive comments depending on the situation we are in. I have had situations where a positive outlook of myself has been the secret to my success, yet I have had times where my skewed perception got the better of me. Our minds can convince us of another reality of our situations when we allow it. I remember when I met my husband Phil. He was such a breath of fresh air from other men I had known and dated. We “clicked” right away and I knew there was something very special about him. After our first date, I was feeling very hopeful and positive about our relationship. I was so excited about getting to know him better. Here’s the problem… after our first date, I did not hear from him for several days which at the time seemed like an eternity. Immediately I kicked into “panic mode.” I felt I was not pretty enough or interesting enough. I felt that now that Phil had had a chance to get to know me a bit he was disappointed as his expectations of me did not meet the reality. My active imagination was in overdrive. Meanwhile on the contrary Phil was in reality eager to call me but was receiving advice that if he called too soon, he would be perceived as too eager, or too desperate and would most certainly scare me away. It was a big misunderstanding that we laugh about now but I am grateful we were able to get to the truth of the matter and move forward in our relationship.
Other people can also have a profound effect on how we view ourselves either positively or negatively. As an adolescent I was regularly bullied at school for quite some time. It made my grade seven and eight years very stressful. To add insult to injury it was not handled well at school and sadly I was always asked by teachers what I was doing to warrant such maltreatment as if I deserved what I got. Day after day, there were things written about me on the bathroom walls and negative comments and mistreatment by a specific group of mean girls. One specific memory that I have used as an example through the years is what I have painfully coined as the “pencil case incident.” I had just learned to sew and I was so excited to practice my novice sewing skills at home that I decided to make a pencil case. Now truth be told the pencil case was pretty scary looking but regardless, I was very proud of it because I made it. Well I bet you know where there is going. The group of bullies saw my pencil case and teased and taunted me mercilessly in front of everyone. At the end of the class, I threw my pencil case in the garbage can in the classroom due to my extreme humiliation. To this day, I regret that decision and I tell my students that I wish I would have done differently. I wish I would be able to tell the story of how I stood up to the bullies and remained proud of my pathetic little pencil case, but they got the better of me. I let them define me and for the moment I internalized how they viewed me.
Finally there is an enemy of this world. He is known as the “Father of Lies” in the Bible and he loves to feed us misinformation about who we really are. Where he will tell us we are losers, God’s word says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He wants to confuse us about our value and the great and unconditional love that our mighty God has for us. We must not listen to his lies but focus on the voice of truth that lets us know how precious we are in God’s sight. We live in a broken world. We all have bruises of some sort. None of us are perfect but that is what makes us all so interesting and unique. I have met people time and time again who are selling themselves short in regards to who they are, the potential they have and what they have to offer this world. Don’t do this! Know that you have enormous potential and listen to the words of those that uplift and inspire not discourage you. Be secure in the knowledge that you like all of us are a work in progress, and you are an amazing, unique and precious person. In my classroom I have a favourite poster with a simple message. It just simply says: You are treasured! That is my message for you too. You are treasured exactly as you are, so please do me a favour. Don’t throw away your pencil case like me, but instead stand up for who you really are!
Until next time,
Ephesians 2:10 ~ I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works.
Little Lesson Learned: Let God be the judge of who you really are. He thinks you are priceless.
Copyright, littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015