A THING OF WONDER:
Case story: A man and his wife. Life happened and she has changed. It has nothing to do with her character but with her physical appearance and her preoccupation with life and children. It’s a young marriage and there is much room for growth. However, one day he decides to move on. The love has waned and probably there is someone else. Nothing she is, is right anymore.
He is unapologetic even though he’s left her with little to care for the children. Her reaction? She cries and begs him to return. He doesn’t want to, he’s made that clear. She still holds on to hope, letting herself go as she waits, struggling with the kids, and feeling bad about herself.
This case is extreme and many women will react similarly: express fury at the man for being a jerk, and the woman for being weak. However in little ways, some of us are her. We are in situations that are harmful. Self blame is our irrational response to pain inflicted by others. We are enduring series of abuse in silence, and empowering pain from our past by constantly reliving it today. Some of us are even protecting our perpetrators.
No blame here, but ALVN would like to bring the focus back to the foundation our house is built on. We could justly lay individual cases on the table of dissection, and give judgment on victor and victim, but that’s a waste of wisdom. We know that only one thing truly matters in every situation we find ourselves. What truly matters is found on the other side of a very important question.
How do you see yourself?
That answer is the first step towards your empowerment and freedom. Here is why.
How you see yourself is how others will see, and treat you. This is the importance of self perception. We are not victim blaming but facing the reality that none of us can really control someone else’s character or life choice. Some people want to be around success, confidence, and strength. It feeds their own desire to excel in those traits. Others need to be around weakness, low self esteem, and passive and dependent people. This feeds their desire to shroud their weaknesses by putting down others.
The only person that can be controlled in these interactions is you. That is why each of us must give an honest answer to the above question.
What is your self perception?
Most people will gravitate towards the “good” traits on that list but there is a better way to know how you truly see yourself. What kinds of people or situations are attracted to you?
What sort of drama follows you around, ALL THE TIME?
What are the repetitive stress factors in your life?
If it’s relationships, what kind of people do you find yourself dealing with all the time? Are they users, needy, abusers? Or are they achievers, helpers, confident in their skin?
Some examples will make this clearer.
You see yourself as confident, strong, and bold. You are at a network event you frequent often. Someone you are acquainted with approaches you. In the middle of a conversation they say, “Well you must not be very smart huh…just kidding.” They laugh while glancing at you to see your reaction. You don’t blink or turn away as you respond, “I’ve heard somewhere that it takes one to know one.” Then you flash a ‘smile’ that means nothing and walk away to talk to the next person. That person might have shared your space, but who you are will now keep them away.
A mans sits across the room watching you. His eyes are well set on a face that looks like it was carved by God himself. His smile is contagious with lips that pull the eyes. He walks over and introduces himself and what he does. He’s perfect: a gentleman with a great career and handsome looks! A relationship starts. You guys are on the same page and have great conversations. You might notice a thing or two is off, but it’s nothing to worry about. Then one day in public he scorns what you say. Reprimanded, you shut down, maybe later apologize. He’s gracious…says he loves you and wouldn’t do it again. Until he does do it again, and again…even worse. Your words are fewer and fewer…but you love him. He stays much longer in your space because it suits him well (he’s done this before). To him you are weak and a victim because that is what he sees.
You are the go-to person to all your friends. You spend hours and hours with them when they need you, giving your resources. The word NO is not in your vocabulary and you are popular. The only problem is everyone is understandably busy when you need them. You see it but keep on giving, until you are overwhelmed and angry. It might be time to ask yourself what you see in the mirror, which will be what they see in you.
A moment of truth. It might be time to change a perception of self. Here are a few steps to help:
- First be honest about the life around you, and your responsibility in it.
- Know that who you truly are is not what your pain or backstory has told you.
- If God created you, you might want to check with him on how HE sees you. Read Jeremiah 29:11, Mathew 10:29-31, Psalm 139:16-17
- Affirm and declare good over yourself. For example you could tell yourself, “I am brave and strong.” “I am lovable.” “I am valuable.” “I am forgivable.”
- Get a good support team around you. They are vetted based on the positive energy they bring.
- Read and digest material on people you admire; make them your role models
- Get away by yourself, to hear yourself.
Finally remember, changing self perception and the results that come with it is never too late. No matter where you are in self discovery and growth, it’s ok. The past is for learning, the future is for application. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you have to stay where you are. Life is beautiful because there is movement. You choose the direction.
Have a great day. Let us know what you think.