Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Who Do You Think You Are Anyway?
By Micky Wolf
(Narcissus | Caravaggio)
How many of us heard that question—pronounced in tones dripping with sarcasm or delivered as an arrow-shaped taunt—long before we reached the age of double-digits?
The good news is that Christians can respond with a number of appropriate Scripture-based explanations that speak to how each of us are created in the image and likeness of God.
And yet, there’s more to the story.
Too much focus on self—I must look at me, I’m so special—is unhealthy at best, selfish and arrogant at worse. One need not look too far to see that the reality of this sad state of being captured the attention of Caravaggio, as well as countless other artists over the generations.
On the other hand, positive, truth-based self-awareness (to the degree any of us can be objective about ourselves) goes a long way toward helping us become the person we are meant to be.
Which means, fellow sojourner, that being able to confess by mouth (and heart) the whole of who I am (first with myself), the greater the likelihood I discover the true essence of my worth and value. When we find the courage to look at ourselves in this way, the result is neither self-centered nor prideful.
Ponder the following questions for a few minutes. Jot down what comes to mind. And, please, in the process, give yourself the gift of doing so without judgment.
What are your strengths? Name them.
What are your weaknesses? Name them.
What activities give you pleasure or joy? Name them.
What activities elicit negativity or unhappiness? Name them.
What single personal pleasant experience in the past five years has impacted you the most? How and why? Describe it in detail.
What single personal unpleasant experience in the past five years has impacted you the most? How and why? Describe it in detail.
Taking the time to thoughtfully, even prayerfully, consider these kinds of questions is not an exercise in selfishness—unless you are choosing to focus on how good you think you are, or how awful you think you are.
What happens after you’ve made your notes-to-self?
Take what you’ve learned and apply it to your life. Focus on what you’re good at, what you enjoy, the aspects of yourself that help make this life, and those with whom you share space and breath, more loving. More compassionate. Yes, kinder and gentler.
As for the exercise and the list? Forget about it.
Maybe revisit it once or twice a year.
Not so much for the purpose of staring at your lovely reflection. But as a simple reminder that you—as well as every other soul who inhabits this planet—is, and always will be, a mixture of the lovely and the not-so-lovely.
So, who do you think you are anyway?
Let’s welcome and encourage one another to living an inspired life of being fully human.