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Monday, November 11, 2013

In the Mirror

Tonight as I brushed my teeth, I looked in the mirror and noticed my hair was wonky on one side (which isn't uncommon) so I used my fingers to push it back. Then I started thinking about reflections. When I look in the mirror, I see a reverse image of myself. What other people see is different than what I see, their perspective is different. When I see a picture of myself I always think it looks horrible because I'm used to seeing my face in a reflection. Does this make sense?

A few hours later I saw this quote that said, "I never thought I was a bully...until I listened to how I speak to myself. I think I owe myself an apology." Whoa. By that definition, I can be a bully.

Something that I've learned over the years as I've worked with the 12-18 yr old girls at church is that I know how awesome they are. I can see all their talents and abilities. I'm constantly impressed with their abilities to overcome challenges and to choose the right even when it's not popular. My point is, I can see their potential, I am their cheerleader and I hate when they put themselves down....The part I'm just now realizing is that in that same breath, I tend to put myself down. Either out loud or in my mind. What kind of example is that? Why the heck am I allowed to compliment them and expect them to not put themselves down, when I do that very thing! When I compliment someone on something, I really mean it and I hate having to defend my compliment when the person disagrees with me. I encourage them to accept the compliment and tell them not to compare themselves to anyone else. So why is it so easy for me to tell other people that but so difficult for me to put my own advice into action?

Maybe I think that if I accept a compliment I am being vain or arrogant. Maybe I have this idea in my mind of what I wanted that crocheted hat to look like and the final product doesn't meet my expectations so I don't feel like I deserve the compliment. I know I'm a terribly awkward person in general and accepting praise is uncomfortable for me because I feel like I have to point out all my flaws. Maybe I don't want others to feel like they're 'not as good' as I am at something so I downplay my abilities. I just don't know WHY.

Our society is great in many ways. On the other side, our society ingrains this notion that we are not good enough. There's a ranking system set in place by who knows who that we get sucked into and we seem set on constantly ranking ourselves with those around us. It really doesn't matter if so and so can sing and tap dance at the same time and I can't. Why am I trying to put myself on that scale? Why do I automatically think that person is so much more talented than me? No, that's not true! That person is very talented in their own right, in their own way! Yes, they're talented at singing and tap dancing, I am not, but I have other abilities. My ranking system should be within myself. When I gauge my singing abilities (or severe lack thereof-I'm not trying to be humble here!) I shouldn't automatically compare myself to Chaka Khan* because then I'll never be good enough. That notion is depressing and totally unnecessary. We do this everyday people! I hear/see it constantly in those around me and myself! "Amanda's a way better dancer than me, I could never dance like that" Well...let's be honest, this is probably true, so just give up now. No really, you "can't touch this". Instead of comparing my obviously awesome dance moves to your own, practice! Or take up macrame, whatever it is that you really want to do that will make you happy. Don't take up dancing just because Amanda's doing it. If you're really interested in it, go for it. If not, pick up that darning needle (or whatever tool is used in macrame) and work on your plastic cord artistry.

I wrote this post a week or so ago but hadn't posted it yet, and since I've written it, I've heard similar sentiments expressed at least four times. It's an epidemic!
President Uchtdorf gave a talk in this last general conference called, "You Can Do It Now!" he said, "One of the adversary’s methods to prevent us from progressing is to confuse us about who we really are and what we really desire." I think we can add to that and say the adversary also uses a very wily tactic to confuses us, that anyone can fall prey to at any time. Comparison. Even the most obedient people have been trapped by this extremely cunning and well disguised threat.

It makes me think of when someone asks you to choose your favorite food, well that is impossible because there are many types of foods out there. How can I compare my favorite carne asada to my favorite Italian soup? How about colors? I love them all, but I can't choose between green and orange, they are totally different and I like them both. Just like you can't compare totally different types of food, we can't compare ourselves, it will get us nowhere. We have no chance of progressing if we continue to use this skewed system to rate our self-worth. I can say a million times that I won't compare myself or beat myself up about silly things but I know I will, I can try to do better though.

That is all. 

*What? I don't even know who that is I just like saying Chaka Khan.


Taylor said...

amazing post! I really enjoyed reading it.

Andrea said...

This is so true. Thanks for sharing.
Your a very thoughtful blogger and I enjoy reading your posts.

Nicole said...

Amen! This was a great post.


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