This blog started as a way for my girls to get to know me better. A diary of my thoughts that they are encouraged to read. I think it’s important that they see my struggles, my weaknesses, and my flaws. So this post is for them. Please know that I don’t need loads of comments telling me how awesome I am.
I’ve come to realize something about myself that I’m not very proud of – I have a need to impress. A desire to make others proud of me. A yearning for admiration. Unfortunately, I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t vying for someone to be proud of me – which means that it’s going to be difficult to overcome. And while I believe that you are who you are and that you shouldn’t be ashamed or apologetic for who you are, I also believe that one should always strive to better themselves.
I’ve spent the past few weeks analyzing this need to impress others, and I think it comes from fear. Fear that I won’t be special, fear that I won’t matter, fear that if I don’t stand out I’ll become invisible, and the biggest fear of all – that I’ll be forgotten when I’m gone.
I’m not the kind of gal that people love to talk to – I never know the right things to say. I’m not the one people think of when they want to go out and have fun somewhere – I’m just not the life of the party. By no means am I feeling sorry for myself, I’m just not naturally “Magnet Girl” – the one everyone is drawn to. I’m a bit quieter, a bit more withdrawn. I have a few close friends who love me the way I am without needing me to know the right thing to say or being the most fun wherever we go, but on the whole I struggle with trying to fit in. So when I find a way to be recognized, an “identity” if you will, it makes me feel like a part of the bigger crowd. I feel like I fit in. And I start to crave it.
I’ve reflected on some of the happier day-to-day moments I’ve had (not the major events like having babies or getting married), and one of the common factors is that I felt like someone was impressed with me. Whether it be through my running, crafting, teaching, parenting, or whatever, I love a conversation where someone says they wish they could _________ like I do. Or even better, that they want me to help them learn to do it too. It makes me feel important. Needed. Admired. Not invisible or forgettable.
The obvious downfall to this is that it can be crushing when I “lose” that admiration. Maybe everyone knows I’m into something and there’s no need to talk about it anymore. Maybe they’ve taken it up too and they are better at it than me, or more into it than I ever was. Or maybe I’ve had to give it up. Whatever the reason, once I am no longer known as “the one who does _________,” it hurts. I begin to feel envious… bitter… depressed. Basically, it leads to nothing good.
The funny thing about all of this is that I like who I am! I truly, genuinely, and honestly like who I am. I know there’s always room for improvement, but I believe that God is proud of the woman I am and that I am working hard to become. I never start out doing something hoping to be acknowledged or recognized for it – never. But somewhere along the way I get thanked or complimented, and it makes me feel good. And I want to hold onto that feeling.
Really, the only one I need to be impressing is God. And ironically, one of the best ways to do that is to humble myself before Him. Which is exactly what I am not doing every time I start craving someone else’s accolades. When I start needing the praise for others I am no longer being humble before God. I’m allowing myself to find fullness in the positive opinions of my peers and not from His positive opinions. Everything I achieve, everything I earn, everything I accomplish – it’s only by God’s grace and love – not by anything I have done.
I’m going to start trying harder to remember that. I’m going to start working really hard to not base my self-worth on whether or not I’m impressing those around me. I want to feel the joy that comes with being proud of myself – because I know my intentions are good and because I know that God is proud of me too.
Just the way He made me.