The Glasses of Self Doubt

mary glassesThis comes from Day 15 of my consecration journey. I know it’s a bit anachronistic, seeing as I posted Day 17 just a few days ago (on 1/23/2014 to be exact).

And this may be a little bit of a shock because it’s not happy or joy-filled. What it is, is honest and forthcoming and, it was waiting. You see, I wrote this in my journal days ago and wasn’t going to share it, because, sometimes, I like to hold on to these.  Then this morning as I was trying not to burn myself with the curling iron *again*, I hear this from today’s Morning Prayer:

Job 1:21; 2:10b

Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,
and naked I shall go back again.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord!
We accept good things from God;
and should we not accept evil?

Here is the entry from my journal:

Do not let yourselves be dispirited by those who are disillusioned with life and have grown deaf to the deepest and most authentic desires of their heart. (John Paul II, World Youth Day 2012)

Someone said to me the other day, in the course of a conversation about something completely unrelated that I “feel a deep need to be important and critical in the lives of others, when in fact, I am not”. Hmph, tell that to my kids! No, let’s not knee jerk this one, dear friends. Let’s just let that sit for a moment. We won’t focus on the context of the conversation, where the conversation took place, or any of those extraneous details (unless you’d like to know – just ask).

How many people say things that are hurtful, because they hurt, or they feel threatened, or don’t know love themselves? Or are disillusioned, distracted an otherwise disengaged for whatever reason? Angry, disenchanted, scarred or jaded? In the readings for my consecration I was asked to stop and think of Mary to call upon her on this particular day. In this particular exchange and quite without any deliberate shift on my part, I just smiled in response.

My initial, internal reaction was to be hurt and upset. But Mary said, wait a minute. Let’s think about this for a second. What else was said?

  1. This person is reading Dante’s Inferno…nice, on my list too! Wait, that’s The Inferno by Robert Langdon.
  2. This person is NOT here to populate the earth with more children
  3. This person indicated that they are very self aware and knows how to to course correct in the moment.
  4. And *hold your breath*  NFP does NOT work
  5. This person identifies with the Catholic Church

Now I am not here to discuss whether or not they are this type of Catholic or that type of Catholic. Nor am I looking for a bash session here. Truly. My point here is that I was able to ask for Mary’s hand in this and see that the statement this person made about me, to me, has to be baseless, based on these few other things said to me both prior and the comment regarding my importance, as they see it. The point is, that I am *trying* to come from a place where charity prevails and this person, from a perceived self awareness. What happened to being God-aware? Holy-Spirit aware?

After reflecting on this, I thanked Mary and God for contextualizing this person for me so rapidly (not usually the case) so that I might see this rightly and without the glasses of self doubt a.k.a. the evil one! I would rather see as Mary sees. I would rather pray that this person does too.

What is your experience? Do you fluster? Do you immediately turn to self doubt when someone hurtles negativity your way, or are you an expert as seeing as others as Jesus and Mary see us?

And as I review this post, I glanced over at one of my favorite printables of Sirach. Where do my eyes land?

Sirach 13:13

Keep words to yourself and be very watchful, for you are walking about with your own downfall.

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16 thoughts on “The Glasses of Self Doubt

  1. I do the same thing…when people do that to me I start to think that they’re right (I wrote an entry/column about this for Plain Grace earlier this month about this very thing). But then I think, wait a minute. Is that REALLY true? It’s hard for me to do that, due to some of the way I was brought up–so I’m with ya here.

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  2. Ok, have to reply to this one! 🙂 Catholicism has helped me SO much with just such situations. By the grace of God, I have developed the ability to “absorb” these negative comments from people directed at me and offer them immediately up to Mary as suffering to work redemptively on THEIR behalf. Instead of reacting and being defensive (which was ALWAYS my first reaction), I just absorb it and move on to another subject. I can’t tell you how much this has stopped this kind of negativity from happening as frequently.

    I also always think of St. Therese here and how that fellow nun who bothered her so much she never let know. Instead, she offered up her suffering and withholding of anger as a “small” gift to God. It also reminds of Elizabeth Leseur (not a recognized saint, but surely is one) whose husband continued to belittle her faith. She offered up this suffering for his benefit and when she died he converted and became a Catholic priest.

    “Offering it up” works! It’s the “absorbing” part that’s the hardest. I’m not perfect at it myself but able to do this more and more 🙂 Of course, you do have to stand up for the faith, but there’s a fine line of knowing when you will or will not make any progress and it could just further the negativity. And don’t let them cause you to doubt. YOU know the right way :).

    My two cents…

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    1. I forgot about that fellow nun! She drove St. Therese crazy but she offered it up. What was funny, I immediately spoke to a dear friend about what happened and explained that I wasn’t even hurt or mad about it. Shocked that it came out of this persons mouth, but not upset. What did I offer up, just prayers that whatever it is that they need healed – soothing balms will come to them.

      Now, as a Brooklyn gal, this isn’t always my go to!

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  3. I am definitely not good at seeing people through the eyes of Mary, but I am trying and praying to get better! I love the image of the glasses and Mary! 🙂

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    1. I love it when I am writing and instantly – I mean I can visualize the letters walking toward the word that I need to search for an image. Weird how our brains work…and beautiful!

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  4. This came at just the right time for me, as I experienced this recently. It has helped to put it into perspective. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. Where is she?? Let me at her!!! Or maybe it’s a guy. Let me at him!!! Just kiddin, of course.

    Well, if someone says something to me, I first try and see if there is any truth there and correct it if possible.

    If it’s a person whom I cannot exactly remove from my life, I will tell them from an “I” statement how they may have hurt me. If then they apologize, I will accept. If they chose not to, I am left to forgive (it’s ok if it takes some time with grace) because Jesus forgave me. I learned this from Feeling and Healing Your Emotions by the late Conrad Baars. I was introduced to him on EWTN. The episode was for adult children of alcoholics. That’s me.

    Anyway, if you would like to read it, any or all of what I have, I will gladly pack them up and send them for however long you need them. I actually have something else for you anyway. Maybe that is why I have put it off.

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    1. Ha! I see this person all the time. See. So they’re real. I am being vague because I don’t want to get attached to it. Needless to say its in my path to learn from I guess.

      Send me all your stuffs! I am always, willing to learn. I still have lots to work on.

      And thanks for coming to my virtual defense. Noted. You’re on security detail.

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  6. Thanks for sharing. I believe most people do not have the intention to hurt us (not to say there are some that are very critical and even jealous of the gifts God has blessed us with) Most of these situations come from our own self doubt which I suffer from as well. Our battle in the spiritual realm is real and we must turn our eyes to Jesus and Mary and ask them for divine assistance, as quickly as we possibly can. The enemy is constantly pursuing us it is why we must be in constant pursuit of God. We can rest in peace knowing God is the only one who knows our heart and as a secular Carmelite in formation , I understand these are moments of great blessings in our life when all we do is all for the glory of God! May God continue to bless you abundantly and may Mary always inspire you always to “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do” John 2:5
    Your sister in Christ Myra

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    1. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think it’s intentional *most* of the time. I’ve had many in my path where it was intentional. Interestingly enough, its the people that are intentional about their negative criticism that I can’t figure out. You know, the why. People that aren’t malicious, it’s transparent that there’s more there – and an instant charity goes out to them. Working on those that are less transparent are the ones I can get around. Another learning moment from God.

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  7. I wanted to add this, but was called away.

    Ah, what a testimony to Our Mother. It’s a good testimony to the personal love she has for each and every one of us. I am always happy to have a “perfect” mother for the times I am disappointed with my own mother, or to give one to my children when I often fail.

    And, check out Madea on relationship advice (may not apply to this, but it’s fun and happens to be the truth.)
    https://myspace.com/furoflight/video/madea-gives-relationship-advice/103533912

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  8. I am right there with you, Cristina. I take criticisms to heart very easily, without looking critically at who is making the criticism. In fact, it’s kept me from doing some very good work, for a very long time, because of the sense that I was inadequately trained.
    At the same time, I developed this whole defensiveness and so, now, when I am criticised I tend to shoot from the hip – also not a good tack to take.
    This week, I had a little success when I stepped back to look at a situation that was blowing up in my face and said a prayer.
    Prayer. Always back to prayer. Why is it always the last thing I think of when I am flustered? So, I am loving the idea of looking at critique through the eyes of Mary. I think you can definitely count this as a success.

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    1. Thank you for helping me to kick off my #smallsuccess post! I thought for sure I was going to be short one!

      I have noticed as I get older that my face isn’t as good at hiding how I feel. My smile shrinks and that’s noticeable for someone who smiles all the time. I don’t her flustered so much as I go blank. The internal dialog is “don’t get upset” or just random read between the lines like “did I just hear that”. Working on that one. It’s so tough isn’t it?

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