Testing my Character

I think we all like to believe we are moral and decent human beings.  Even if we don’t always do the right thing, we try to.  At least, that’s how, I think, I live my life.  But lately I feel called into question and I keep wondering:

Am I a moral person?

What are my motives?

What have I “gotten away with” that may seem unfair to others?

Being the baby of the family, a chubby kid who was picked on, and a young widow, set me up for a lot of sympathy and easy passes.  I wonder if I’ve just had it too easy in life riding on those things.  But then again, how would I know?  I’ve never been anyone else.  What makes someone else’s life so much more difficult than my own?

I bounce some of these things off of my husband, who is honest enough to tell me if I’m being selfish or if I’m not being fair, and I think for the most part I’m pretty considerate and fair.  But sometimes I’m tested and sometimes I fail.

And that makes me really hard on myself.  The self criticism is at an all time high the past month attributed probably to coming off a long-term medication, going to camp widow, gaining another 12 pounds that I didn’t need to gain, three work deadlines, being an activist in an anti-pipeline group, taking a class, and heading into the 6 year loss anniversary on the 28th.  I don’t put this out there to ask for pity but to analyze, for myself, what’s been gnawing on my self conscious.  My mind is on constant overload.

While trying to meditate in the bath tonight I couldn’t escape like I wanted to.  I wanted to release it all, to feel unwound from the tensions around me, to find that peace.  In that, I knew I needed to write, something I’ve not done enough of in the chaos of life; keeping myself too busy to purge these thoughts.

I’ve fooled myself into trying to believe that if I can just get past this next hurdle things will get better, but that’s a false statement.  Things won’t always get better.  As I looked at my legs, covered in cellulite and amplified by the bathwater tonight, I thought, “I need to love this body.  I need to be gentle with myself.  I need to love myself.”  If I do that, and just that, the next hurdles might be a bit easier to handle because above all else I will know the truth of how I feel without mingling it with confusing thoughts of self doubt.

I’ve accomplished so much that I have failed to give myself credit for.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s al OUT THERE.  You can all see the accolades on my website, and I can tout off several more but have I recognized them for myself?  Do I realize that the awards I’ve won, the achievements I have made in spite of a lot of very difficult circumstances are really pretty amazing?  I don’t think I do.  I know I don’t because when I meet a complete stranger I’m more excited to tell them about the anti-pipeline movement and the work of other great people than about the book I wrote and my story.  I’ve lost the hope in myself to tell my story with confidence, grace and acceptance.

And that makes me incredibly sad for myself and for my future.  What does that mean for my hopes and dreams?  Will I continue to wash them away because I’ve kept myself so busy taking care of trying to fix other people’s problems and feelings (and let’s face this, meddling in other people’s problems and feelings)?  I tell myself it’s because I love them and I want what is best for them…but what about loving myself and what’s best for me?  What’s best for my husband and I?  What will build my self-love and our relationship?

I want to sit here longer and dwell on the thoughts of others and how they so impact my life every. single. day but I cannot.  Because it’s unfair to engage those people in their own negativity, it’s disrespectful to myself to not honor my own emotions and feelings in this, and it’s careless to spend more waking time on these issues than on my own marriage and treasured relationships.

I deserve better.  My mind deserves the peace of knowing that in most cases, I do good.  And when I fail, and I’m not right, that hopefully I will find the words and the tact to admit these things.  I deserve to love myself and watch out just for me, then for my spouse and family.  This is not selfish, this is just love.

And in all this, amidst all my deep questions of faith, I feel the love of God.  Who loves me in spite of these flaws and loves me as I should love myself.  Wholly.   If I let that happen, that love soak in, I know I can better relieve myself of the stress of those situations that scheme to bring me down.  People wear many false personas with the label of “christian” and “servant” without first knowing the label of “love” and “grace”.  I’d like to better know the ways of love and grace.

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