Backsliding

I started writing the book on confidence a year and a half ago.  I thought for a while that I’d mastered it, but then remembered what I had written.  There’s no mastery of this, at least not to the degree that you never need to be reminded of the principles.  You will always be prone to forgetfulness, especially of who you really are.

I did that myself over my Christmas break.  It was a silly argument, but I lost my temper and left.  For that moment, I forgot who I was and that the comment I had taken offense at didn’t matter, even if it was meant to hurt me and was true (and it was neither, as it turns out).  

This moment of weakness, however, doesn’t mean that I have no confidence or that this program for confidence is ineffective.  It means only that I am human.  And I will continue to be human until the day I die, so I will keep forgetting and making mistakes in this regard (along with a host of others).

It is, however, possible to minimize such mistakes.  Let us say you are insulted by someone you really want to please, someone who has known you for years, such as a spouse or parent.  Part of our reaction, when said reaction is unhealthy, is based on habit.  We’re used to feeling a certain way about someone and believing they feel a certain way about us.  With parents, especially, many people feel a sense of not being quite good enough or an obligation to please.  There may also be a latent fear of consequence if you upset them.

One of the keys to overcoming this is remembering that this person cannot determine your value, no matter what they think of you.  It is your choice whether to believe in their opinion of you or in God’s opinion of you.  They may be right on the things they say to you, but no matter how harshly these things are said, your value isn’t based on your performance.

As for the habit part of these interactions, try going into each one with a brief mental reminder of who you are in Christ and that your value is dependent on Him, not the other person.  Also, remind yourself that God loves them just as much as He loves you and wants them to have the same confidence in Him that you’ve found.

Finally, look at your relationship with that person and ask yourself honestly if you’ve forgiven him or her for past hurts.  If you haven’t, then each new hurt will just be added to all the others and the person will be seen in the worst light rather than in the best.  You will also magnify their latest transgression instead of seeing it for what it is: at best, a misunderstanding and at worst, an errant opinion of you that has no bearing on your value.

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