- How wonderful to be wise, to be able to analyze and interpret things. (Ecclesiastes 8:1)
- Learn to be wise and develop good judgment. (Proverbs 4:5)
For starters you can hit the floor and pray for wisdom and guidance. This needs to be approached with an attitude of humility and the acknowledgment that it is possible that you have certain shortcomings when it comes to self-analysis. You may not want to face the truth about yourself, your upbringing, your ethnic culture, your religious beliefs. You have, instead, developed a pattern of avoiding or ending relationships with people who tell you unpleasant truths about yourself, and gravitating towards those who only flatter you even if it should be to your detriment. The answer to your prayer for wisdom will come, but will you be willing to face the truth?
If you do face it, however, you will be liberated from the flaw of cloudy judgment, and pave the way to the establishment of truth in various aspects of your life. Then when you hear messages about yourself, you will know the difference between the truth and a lie, friend and foe.
Be still and listen… What is the predominant message that you get from within your self? That will be the maker or breaker of your sense of worth. It will drown out all other voices from any other sources, and as unfortunate as it would be to internalize others’ false definitions of you, the real tragedy would be for you yourself to be the source of that distortion.
A good starting place in trying to know yourself would be to make a self assessment list and ponder over it. This is not a joke. On one side, list all your shortcomings or negatives as communicated to you over the years, and your assets or pluses on the other. Remember, we are discussing character traits, so for now leave out things like “nice hair”, “bust size”, “acne”. And don’t just stick to the ones you’re not sure about either. For good measure, maybe you should jot beside each trait or issue, some of the sources or reasons supporting that conclusion: family or cultural heritage, religious teachings, society, popular culture, a particular individual, your own mind. And then differentiate the ones that you agree with from the ones you disagree with or are not sure about, and say why.
Go find an unbiased, disinterested listener to see you through the process of defining yourself, moles, warts and all. A stranger has no stake in the effects of their opinion about you, and therefore has no motivation in lying to you.
If you were raised in a culture that has served to place barriers between you and paying a professional for that kind of therapeutic unburdening, then look for free therapy. Church is usually a good place, not always, but usually a good place to start. If necessary, exercise courage and pay for therapy, just try not to end up with a quack. When you’re going for your unburdening, take your list along but leave your heart behind; it will only get in the way. Take along your ears for listening, the part of your tongue that you will need to ask for the help you need, and your head for sorting through the opinions expressed and any advice given. Oh, and bring along the pillow from last time, you might need it.
Regardless of whatever method you choose to use to pursue this wisdom, sit on any new information for a little while, digesting and pondering what you have heard. Use your pillow often. Pray yourself through to a season of enlightenment. Some days, you will simply need to nurse a bruised ego on the pillow as certain truths hit you. If you are receptive to the truth, you will emerge tender and sore from the heat of that fire, yet glowing from the light of the wisdom that you would have found through this process.
But don’t get comfortable, it’s not over yet, this is only the beginning of the solution process. While your fire is still hot, grab the scalpel and plunge it into the flames! We’re going to excise some stuff.
- To be continued…