You know when you learn a lesson from the Lord, you receive a healing in a certain area, and you think to yourself, “Yes! I’m ready to move forward now!” And you are ready, and you do move forward into new areas with increased freedom. And then, God shows you that you need more healing in that area, that what He did went only as deep as I could handle it at that time, but that another round of surgery and aftercare is required.
That’s what He did with me this week, although He had been leading me up to this point slowly with little hints dropped here and there. Maybe they were big hints, but I just didn’t want to pay attention to them. In any case, He has finally been able to get through to me that this is important and it needs my attention. It has been holding me back and is my oldest hurt. I still, at my core, have questions about my being “lovable”.
Now, I don’t sit around moping that I am not loved, because I know that there are people who love me to the greatest extent to which they are capable. I feel very confident of myself, I am not too hard on myself anymore, I am aware of my victories and most of my struggles. However, I am really double-minded on this point, because without warning, someone will say or do something negative toward me and it cuts me like a very sharp knife, sinking deep into me before I even realize the incision has been made. I am trying to get to the point where other people’s treatment of me doesn’t result in me questioning if I am sufficient or normal or likable – if anyone will ever accept and truly love me like I am. I know that I can be annoying and have my flaws and faults, and that others may not always like how I act, but why does that make me feel sad and hurt?
The more I learn about Temperament Therapy and Life Patterns, the more I recognize that the way we see things is either filtered through our temperament strengths and weaknesses or through the attitudes we created with our Life Patterns. Different temperaments understand and react to the world in different ways, and my particular temperament tends to see rejection everywhere. I have to constantly disregard my initial assumption that people don’t or won’t like me in order to push myself forward into relationships (or into the public arena) confidently. I tell myself it is just a brain glitch, because honestly, although I am not perfect, most people do like me when they get to know me.
That means that my world view is skewed and untrustworthy. My perception of how people view and receive me doesn’t always match reality, and that means I must adjust to reality, not stay limited and confined to my perception. When people act like they like and appreciate me, I can believe myself when I say, “Penny, people like you! Just ignore that little voice in your head that says they don’t like you, or are laughing at you.” The only problem is when someone, anyone, acts as though my feared negative self-perception is TRUE – that I’m unlikable – then I doubt everything all over again.
I want to be able to be confident about my sufficiency and “lovability” as a person even with all of my flaws. I am much better than I used to be, more confident and I believe more realistic than I’ve ever been before. However, when I drastically overreact to someone pointing out what’s wrong with my tendencies or actions, I know that there is something that still requires healing. I still equate my flaws, and other people responding negatively to them, to my being not lovable nor accepted.
I am aware that, between my temperament and my life experiences, I have cards stacked against me in this area. But I believe my God is sufficient and powerful enough to heal me in this area, once and for all. I believe it will start with my life narrative, because the story I tell about myself will determine how I see myself, and as I am doing my Celebrate Recovery Inventory (for the 5th time), I can recognize the theme of rejection all throughout it. If I see myself as repeatedly rejected and not often accepted, that perpetuates the feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness that sometimes pop up. I want those gone. And I believe that God would never reveal something unless He was determined to heal it, so I’m ready and excited about this healing!
Your sister in Christ,