I saved this quote about a month ago – “Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.” – Fred Rogers
As I’ve looked at it over time, my thoughts on it have changed a few times. I’m not sure that I like the word “discovering” at the beginning. Perhaps accepting or dealing with would be a better way to start, but I suppose the revelations we make about ourselves as we become more conscious of our thoughts and actions could be classified as discoveries.
I also think the focus should be more on what we do about those discoveries than just about making them. How does one come to grips with discovering racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or anti-Semitic bents in one’s thinking? How does one deal with fears that are unfounded and based on biases or bad information that was instilled in us as children? When one is confronted with irrefutable evidence that a “truth” that we had long held is false, what are we to do?
Facts and beliefs have always coexisted in an uneasy mix in our minds and our perception of ourselves has always been made up of that same uneasy mix. Perhaps that is why some may have a tough time having love for themselves – they don’t really like some of the things that they see in themselves, yet they are unwilling to change what they see.
Discovering or getting to know yourself requires time to think and reflect on the thought processes that drive the decisions that one makes in life. How many of your decision are based upon real thought and how many are just knee-jerk reactions, based upon long held, but perhaps baseless biases or prejudices? When you recognize those poorly based decisions, what do you do about them? It’s a conundrum.
Without going to far down this rabbit home, there are a couple of passages from the bible that provide some guidance and hope for dealing with these issues.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
“Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” – Proverbs 19:8
Some people wear those little bracelets that have WWJD on them – What Would Jesus Do? Asking that question whenever you hit one of those knee jerk moments may help you at least stop to think about what is driving your reaction to the situation. So long as you are uncomfortable with the answer there is hope. Stop and try to discern the will of God – what is acceptable to God.
You may discover truths about yourself that you don’t like and that is OK, Discovery is the first step to recognizing and correcting them, it is the start to discerning what is good and acceptable and perfect. You may never get to perfect, but you can sure get further away from those old bad habits and reactions. As Mr. Rogers said, “It is worth the effort”.
What do you know about yourself and what is driving your decisions? Think about it.