How do you see yourself? What defines you? Many people define themselves through their profession. ‘I’m a teacher’ or ‘I’m a carpenter.’ That is what you do and yes, that is what you become known as but that is not all there is to you. Who are you when you stop working? A father was introducing his children to a visiting friend who he hadn’t seen for years. ‘Now this is Tom - the noisy one in our family, and this is Lucy - she knows how to disappear when there is a job to do.’ Without realising it that father was already shaping his children’s perceptions of themselves in a negative way. Does that ring any bells for you? If you could get down into what you really feel about yourself, what would you see? It is easy to use that outgoing part of us to present a different picture from what we are feeling. One of the clues to what you feel is that a memory of an incident, a mistake or something said years ago can stick with you, even haunt you. Why is that? Because that incident tapped into what you were already feeling about yourself – and still does. All those feelings poured into that incident and crystallised. When you try and erase the memories, they won’t go away because they are fueled by what you feel about yourself. The memories then reinforce the feelings and you are caught in a vicious circle.
How can we break that cycle and change those wrong perceptions? Start by recognizing that there is a different way of looking at things. God made us as the pinnacle of his creation and declared that his handiwork was ‘very good.’ Our choices will not have always matched the wonder of who we are but forgiveness is offered and the opportunity to live in all the potential that God placed within us.