Why is it that the people closest to us have the power to make us feel like dirt and a complete stranger or an old friend can lift us up with one kind word? What is it about human nature that allows us to treat the people we love with such disrespect? Why do we have this uncanny ability to shut off our own humanity in order to ignore another’s?
Then again, why do even we allow how we feel about ourselves to be dictated by the opinions of others? Why do we put people on such pedestals with such high expectations that their doomed to fall and fall hard?
Despite what it may look like on the outside, there are times that I feel like a complete failure, failure as a wife, a mother, a housekeeper, a Christian. You get the point. Notice how I didn’t include my political life even though we just lost big time. Or More than Moms or the neighborhood association? Sometimes I think I bring these things into my life so that I have an outlet where I don’t feel like a complete loser, where I’m appreciated, where I’m more like a superstar. Okay, maybe I’m reaching a bit, but again, you get the point.
One would have to argue though…Hillary, if you dropped all this other stuff, wouldn’t then have a ton of time to invest in your family so that you weren’t such a big fat L? While that may be a true statement, I’m not all that convinced that much would change. Sure, my house and my kids would be cleaner. I’d cook better meals and possibly be able to detach myself from my Blackberry, but wouldn’t I lose my identity in the process? Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom (really I do), but I’ve fought hard to not just be a mom. I wanted to have an identity of my own, not just someone’s wife or mother. I’m certainly no June Cleaver but I’m not Peggy Bundy either. Maybe I’m going through my own little identity crisis right now…heck, maybe it’s a midlife crisis.
This morning I was sitting with a couple girlfriends talking about this very topic. Where does our self worth come from? The question arose: What do you do when you doubt if God loves you? One of the girls said that it didn’t seem like a relevant question to her because she’s never really struggled with it. But when you look at it from a little different perspective, it’s a perfectly reasonable question.
If we’re seeking our self worth in the eyes of others, our husbands, our kids, our friends and colleagues, then maybe that reveals a deeper issue within us…maybe we do doubt in God’s love for us, at least in his unconditional love for us. And that makes perfect sense to me. Of course I struggle with understanding his unconditional love for me because the only love I can comprehend is conditional. Love without reason is hard to find even amongst Christians. We constantly tie strings to our affections and it seems that the closer we are to someone, the more strings there are. I happen to believe that those strings are tied to expectations.
Whether we admit it or not, we set expectations for the people in our lives, normally much higher than they are even capable of attaining, and we get hurt. We allow those unmet expectations to define us, to determine how we feel about ourselves. It’s all one big fat lie, and yet we don’t recognize it. Even I struggle to see that. I allow myself to be hurt, to feel like a loser, to invite myself to countless pity parties for one. Just because someone I love treats me like I don’t matter doesn’t mean that I don’t, right? Why is it so hard to believe that?