“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
“It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.”
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Merry Christmas! It’s been a good day with a couple of bumps in the road but now I’m ready to write. I did some journaling first, but I also let myself get distracted. Now I’m going to do my best to sit here and get something done. I have five days to write 11 blogs. That is not an impossible task, but I’m going to have to write at least three on one of those days if I’m going to reach my goals.
Today I realized some unpleasant truths about myself. I’m not going to share them, so that the struggle is more relatable. I’ll only say that they are nothing illegal or even immoral; they’re just parts of me I don’t like. They are the parts of me that are petty, selfish and insensitive. They are the things I say or do, or more importantly the things I think, then repress and then say or do in a way that is hurtful. In writing about them, I realize that I have to accept that there are parts of me that are dislikable. So how do I deal with them?
First, I have to accept them. I have to accept my humanity. The concept of accepting myself is very romantic when I read about it in a self-help book or in Jungian philosophy. It’s less romantic when I realize that I can be hurtful and that I can diminish, anger or sadden others. What I want to do is eliminate my flaws, all of them. I want to be perfect. Perhaps I believe I’m already perfect and I try to keep my flaws hidden so that my narcissistic view is undisturbed. Or perhaps I realize how flawed I am, but I lack the strength or courage to face it. But the truth is that I do have to admit, like the alcoholic, that I have a problem. Much of my pain over my flaws has deep roots in two other issues:
1. I feel embarrassed.
2. I’m sure that I’m going to be left completely alone and unloved when people realize I’m not perfect.
So, here is what I need to say:
· I have particular faults or flaws, several in fact.
· I will probably always have them to some degree, especially if left unacknowledged or unchecked.
· When I acknowledge them, I can keep them in check. This is not repression. This is acknowledging that the way I have dealt with my shortcomings in the past may have felt like a form of self-protection, but now I am hurting others and hurting me. In fact, I probably always have when I don’t face the truth.
· I admit to others that I am struggling, when it is appropriate. I ask for help when I can. I can apologize. I can pray. I can seek counsel through books or people.
· I can move on from them, but I can never stop being vigilant.
This may have not been the typical Christmas blog, whatever that is. And what, if anything, does this have to do with Purpose? I think there is no better gift can I give others or myself than the gift of positive change. Isn’t that what every holiday is about? They’re not only about celebrating the past, but also about creating a joyful present that will sustain into the future. Christmas especially is about peace on Earth and goodwill to men. It is about the birth of Jesus who came to change all mankind, one of us at a time. I need peace and goodwill for myself first before I can fully give it to others or before I can fully change. To have peace, I must acknowledge unpleasant truths about myself. Then I can Get Started and Keep Going.