02/10/2015

A Need for Connection

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , at 10:23 am by The Water Bearer

dont care

 

We’ve all heard people claim “I don’t care what anyone thinks” and for those of you like me, perhaps this seems a far off concept, one we are encouraged to strive for. Getting to the point where we don’t care what others think seems impossible. I have always cared, deeply. So much so, that for much of my life I believed I needed to be malleable, that I needed to change myself to be what everyone else told me I should be. I spent so much time hopping from one foot to the other unsure of who I was, depending on who I was with. I assumed that if I somehow met their expectations then they would have to approve of me. I tripped over myself trying to ensure no one held ill feelings towards me. I pursued those who had gripes, finding anyway I could to defend myself and convince them that I was worthy of their approval.  It is one thing to try and be at peace with all men, and another thing entirely to need the approval of all men. Through therapy I came to understand much of this was due to my hidden insecurity and once I began to believe in my own worth I began to take a much different approach.

When I look back at that girl I see many differences. I no longer see someone who is willing to change herself at the whim of others, I no longer see someone who needs to chase down everyone who condemns my faults and has unreasonable expectations of me. In fact these days I quite simply stay away and allow them to think whatever they like. However, I still and always will pursue change. Changes that I see as valuable, and changes that God has impressed upon my heart, I hope to always be malleable in my Lord’s hands.

During these changes, I have come to realise that the statement “I don’t care what anyone thinks”, is somewhat false, hence the reason it seems impossible. We all care….We might not let them know we care, we might not chase them, we might not change for them, but to be misjudged, misunderstood and lose connection still hurts, it still bothers us, we still care.

I started to get some insight into this recently, after I dug deeper into the question “why do we all care?”. A little epiphany came after praying on this, that the reason we all care is because we are all made in the image of God, and Our Heavenly Father IS LOVE. Perfect, pure, righteous LOVE. Love that intense has an unwavering need for connection with others. It is why He created all beings. Another thing I have come to understand as I have grown in my relationship with God is that because He is LOVE that makes Him a giant throbbing HEART. When we say our heart has broken we understand it as painful, for Him it is multiplied 100 fold. The pain of being disconnected from us was the catalyst for His reasoning to send His Son to reunite us to Him. I bet He suffered excruciating pain when that first bite of forbidden fruit was taken, when the enemy first severed the connection between Him and us, His children. I bet the pain He felt when Lucifer turned was beyond words unbearable.

The spirit of our Heavenly Father is inside every single one of us, it is the thing that levels every human being as equals, whether we recognize it, admit it, believe it or NOT. His spirit within us is the drive in our deepest part that craves connection. Whenever our connection with another is severed it hurts us because it hurts the spirit of our Heavenly Father. Still we can find solace in knowing we are approved of, we are worthy, we are loved, unwaveringly by our Creator, and an open connection with Him is always available.

I am perplexed by all the meme’s and statements encouraging us to not care what anyone thinks. On one hand I see the empowering mindset to detach from the restraints of approval seeking, and yet when we desensitize ourselves so much to the thoughts and feelings of others we may risk the very essence of us that makes us human, a deep caring, and loving spirit of God.

When we begin to understand how God feels, it gives deeper insights to who He is and what He stands for. We humans have blamed Him for all the things not understood, and have portrayed Him as a heartless powerful giant who treats us as ants and cares not, when the opposite is closer to the truth. Everything He does and has done is to secure the connection between us and Him and each other. However… He doesn’t change himself to please our every whim, He doesn’t allow disconnection to alter His affection for us, He doesn’t allow His emotional state to influence His righteous stance. I think there is something in that we can all be empowered by.

So next time you hear the phrase “I don’t care what anyone thinks” remember, we all do in some way, especially God.

God's love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31/10/2012

Friends or Enemies?*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:53 am by The Water Bearer

friends

A special and long time friend of mine put this statement on her facebook page recently “I asked God to protect me from my enemies and I started losing friends”, it really struck a chord with me. I am sure many others can testify to the same.

When I first began breaking my habits as a ‘people pleaser’, and tried to stop doubting myself into compliance when others criticise or don’t accept me, I noticed distance began to form between me and some members of my family and friends.

It can be hard to remain close when someone makes such drastic changes to their lives and selves. The relationship may no longer hold the comforts it once did and those who can not adjust to the changes may drift away.

At first this may appear to be a bad thing, it can feel like rejection. However the freedom that comes from that distance gives much room for personal growth. This growth may not have occurred with the constant influences of those people in our lives. It also makes room for others who encourage the changes, to move closer. Those friendships we hold onto tightly, keeping them in our lives, may be the very reason we are not at peace with ourselves, or even why we haven’t made enough steps towards our personal goals. Instead of being the ally we depend upon, they may actually be enemies to our fulfillment of self.

The quality of friendships is much more important than the quantity, and true friendships are a vital piece to our sense of happiness.

The philosopher Epicurus held the following stance:

“We don’t exist unless there is someone who can see us existing, what we say has no meaning until someone can understand, while to be surrounded by friends is constantly to have our identity confirmed; their knowledge and care for us have the power to pull us from our numbness. In small comments, many of them teasing, they reveal they know our foibles and accept them and so, in turn, accept that we have a place in the world. We can ask them “Isn’t he frightening?’ or ‘Do you ever feel that…?’ and be understood, rather than encounter the puzzled ‘No, not particularly’ – which can make us feel, even when in company, as lonely as polar explorers.” (Quote from the book I am currently reading ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’ by Alain De Botton)

In the same book I read the following statement, which helped me clear out the belief that I must give authority to the opinions of those who oppose me, as they must be able to see it clearer than I or they wouldn’t be so quick to criticise. How wrong I was…

“Errors in our thoughts and way of life can, at no point and in no way, ever be proven simply by the fact that we have run into opposition. It is in the soundness of their method of thinking that should determine the weight we give to their disapproval.” – Socrates (The Consolations of Philosophy’ by Alain De Botton)

Until I began to question the sound logic of those opinions held by my criticisers, I tried hard to gain their understanding, acceptance and approval. Yet at the same time I kept developing my internal understanding, which began to outgrow them. This diatribe of mixed messages caused so much confusion that I believed at times I was losing my mind!

Learn from my mistakes! Challenge opposition and criticism, by thinking in a methodical way, so as to gain understanding and awareness of oneself and truth. Maintain your own personal growth regardless of who’s understanding or approval you may outgrow.

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