What makes it so easy to find faults in others, yet so difficult to reflect on our own weakness? Is it a necessary quality as we build our own position, our own status, our own individuality? Or does it come from our own insecurities or prejudices? Do the confident ever believe themselves wrong, or the insecure themselves right? How can we make tomorrow better?
I grew up in a family where blame was a normal part of life. My father, insecure in himself, found fault in almost everything around him. He was an alcoholic, and when he was drunk, he took all his frustrations out on my Mother, me, my sisters, or my younger brother. I find that it has shaped my life. It is easy for me to see the wrong in others. My defense mechanism became humor; biting humor, where I focus on the mistakes of others. This does not bring me but momentary satisfaction, and I would be a better person if I kept my thoughts to myself, but I admit they must find their way out or I would burst. I've spent a lot of time considering this fault of mine, and as a compromise with my inner demon I've worked hard to not let spill meanly out as the venom I grew up with, or routinely dispensed to those I love. Still it lurks not far below the surface. After much reflection I believe I am a confident individual, with a solid self-understanding, yet I experience doubts all the time, especially when dealing with issues that are beyond my control. So I find, for me, the answer to these questions, stem from childhood experiences shaping who we are as adults, and while reflection of ourselves may be easy, changing the fundamental approach to life, built as a child, is very hard.
I think this is where our faith and a belief in redemption become so important. Each day we strive to improve, each day we fall short, and each time we fall short we seek forgiveness. If we don't believe we can be forgiven, the burden of our failures would build an ever higher fortress of isolation, much as I saw in my father. He approached life with the idea change was impossible, and his only option was to continue as he was, attempting continuously to bring all others down to his level. As hard as he tried to reach out, to show compassion, to gain acceptance, he was unable to change his approach when confronted with adversity. His attempt to escape the petty frustrations of life led to his addiction and his addiction led to loss of esteem.
This brings me to the most important of all questions, how can we make tomorrow better? This is a question each of us must answer for ourselves, and only for ourselves. We can't tell others how to run their lives, nor can we run their lives for them. Each of us must find our way through life, we must find our own path, but along the way we must find ways to shine brightly so the paths of those closest to us are illuminated. I start each day with this simple prayer.
Help me put yesterday behind, forgive my sins, and make me a mirror reflecting your light. Remind me to think before I act, and be an example for those who know me. Amen