That sense that you’re not okay and that unless you fix it, other people will realise too.
So what do you do with it – the knowledge that you’re a shameful fraud – moments away from discovery? You can put on a mask for others. But what about yourself? How do you tell yourself you’re okay?
Seems like there’s a number of options.
1. Learn to love yourself. If hot rocks, me-time and positive thinking doesn’t work, there’s always the rebrand. Instead of being selfishness I am now ‘ambitious’, ‘passionate’ instead of angry, ‘prudent’ instead of mean and ‘realistic’ rather than grumpy. What’s not to love? And if other people don’t like it, then they’re jealous, small-minded and need to be culled from the friend/husband/family list. Stuff ’em and go give yourself a Me-hug.
2. Change yourself. If you don’t like yourself, then make a new one. Whiten your teeth. Learn Swedish. Detox. Join a book group. Take up salsa. Volunteer. Whatever works. And if it doesn’t, then just try something new: after all, you got a lifetime to hit upon the right formula.
3. Think about the stuff you’re good at. Ironing. Quad-biking. Cooking. Peeling dead skin off your sunburnt friends. Breathing. Add up your achievements and give yourself a big high-five.
4. Compare yourself to Hitler.
5. Give yourself a Guilt-trip. Every time you feel bad, think about the folks with 24 children and rabies. You don’t have 24 children. And you’re not foaming at the mouth. So shut up and count those blessings.
I have to say, these aren’t really working for me.
There’s a limited number of times I can big up my skills with a hoover. I’m not Hitler, but I’m not Mother Teresa either. And I feel bad about feeling bad – but not enough to make a change. I’ve tried – but inside, I always stay the same.
24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? 25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
(Rom 7:24-5, Rom 8:12-14, The Message)