By nature I’m a brooder. Any topic or event will do, real or imagined. What’s astounding is that until recently I hadn’t noticed the way my brooding was impacting my interactions with others, and specifically my husband. I think all women attempt to read a person’s looks, gestures, and other unspoken communication, but I have a tendency to fixate on those musings until they’ve developed a life of their own. Sometimes my conclusions might be correct, but often I’m either off the mark or can’t fathom the full picture, and I’ve wasted a lot of mental energy and emotion without good cause.
We all go through experiences in life that leave us with scars, and whether the scars are physical or emotional, we often try to hide them out of fear of what others might think if they were to see them. These scars could be anything about ourselves that we may feel ashamed of and try to hide—such as buried hurts from the past, inner struggles we face, physical traits we aren’t proud of, etc. Throughout my life I have come to learn that there is great freedom in being open about our scars rather than hiding them. Here’s an example of one of my proverbial scars I’ve learned not to be ashamed of.
My father had profound mental health issues which caused him, my mother, and us seven siblings much grief. I had a very unhappy childhood.
When I was two years old, I was seriously scalded by a pot of boiling water. To this day I still bear the scars over several parts of my body.
1. Make a list of all the good things you currently have in your life.
Who would have thought that I’d be writing an article on the topic of happiness and satisfaction after everything that we have been through this year due to the COVID-19 virus? After having experienced so much insecurity and uncertainty in the air, how could that be a time to think about happiness?
“That’s not fair” must have been my three most-used words when growing up. It seemed that someone—or everyone—always had it better than me.
By my early teens I had a well-developed measure-and-analyze mindset, and I was particularly obsessed with comparing my looks, personality, and abilities with those of other girls my age.
I read a post by Rabbi Evan Moffic the other day that made a lot of sense to me. Here’s the last paragraph:
When life gets to be too much, when everything around you seems to be falling apart, when you feel that nothing you do helps, think about Me. Think about how much I love you. Think about My power. Think about all your blessings. If you thank Me for all the good things in your life, the negative feelings will gradually dissipate.
Recently, I came to a wholly and thoroughly unsurprising conclusion: I am not good enough.
Now, of course, I know that no one can ever be “good enough” in this life. What would be more accurate, I suppose, would be to say that I could be much better. Admittedly, I am not as bad as one could be, seeing as I was raised in the love and admonition of the Lord in a home where rules and love were both dished out in their proper helpings. But still, the inescapable fact is that I could be better.
Recently, I was reviewing my past, thinking about choices I made, and I began to blame others for how some things had turned out. I blamed my parents for the decisions they made that affected my childhood. I blamed my school for the insecurities I felt, and how I never felt I was perfect enough to succeed in various areas. I blamed my church for attitudes I had about God that affected my relationship with Him.