The fact is…I don’t like to feel like I “need” anything or that I’m weak. I decide how vulnerable I want to be and to whom. I’m suppose to be a strong, independent, woman (because that’s how I want to see myself).
But as a friend recently pointed out to me, ”strength” isn’t necessarily defined as we think it is. For example: take a woman who cries. While some might say her tears represent weakness, others would say that allowing herself to cry and feel both love and hurt deeply, takes MORE courage than the one who holds back.
I’m taking a class called the Wounded Heart. Wait…sorry…let me practice here: I’m in a ”support group” for women who have experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. (I hope you didn’t just cringe away at such a “shameful topic” but it’s okay if you did. It’s painful to see, hear, read and talk about it for many. So I will try to approach the topic with as much empathy as I can.)
Our first homework assignment this week was to give a questionnaire to trusted friends. The questionnaire is about our behaviors as seen by others, towards others. We were warned, “The results, may surprise you but encourage your friends to be honest because making you feel good by lying to you, won’t help you.”
“The trouble with most of us is we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” -Norman Vincent Peale
So far, I am discovering some hard things about myself that I wouldn’t have seen on my own (or admitted)! Some of the repeats are:
- Rarely invites people to know what’s going on inside of her.
- Can’t Stand to say no.
- Hates conflict or having people upset with her.
- Invites people to take her for granted.
- Rarely express soft feelings, such as tenderness, sorrow, or fear.
- Avoids appearing weak.
- Is suspicious of others motives.
- Makes a person feel deeply needed (Does this mean I’m needy?)
Although the part of me that doesn’t like to admit this (remember, I don’t appearing to be weak…lol), I can see where and how these things would fit my life. A couple surprised me such as “rarely inviting others inside/sharing soft feelings” because I always feel like I invite people in. So it is true: we do not fully know ourselves and sometimes, we aren’t even aware of the depths or motives of our own hearts.
Now that I see some inconsistencies in how I see myself and how others see me, I must ask: why? And I’m sure asking “why” is where the mending process actually begins. And even though this is hard (and difficult to swallow), I sense that this is good. And you know what? I’m feeling a little brave and more courageous than ever about facing the “ugly” stuff on the inside. A friend responded to my questionnaire and admitted she would “never do this!” I responded, “I know. It sucks.” lol
I’m convinced that the harder we try to change ourselves, the harder we will fall. That is a trap we (and when I say “we”, I mean me) must be careful to avoid. Instead, the more we make a choice to come to Jesus over and over and abide in His love and forgiveness, the more HE will change us. (Man…does Jesus have a lot of work to do on ME!!!)
Why not take a risk to look at the truth? What is there to lose, REALLY? Not much honestly. But there is a WHOLE LOT to gain, including humility, truth and FREEDOM for the inner torment.
For those reading this who would like to practice the courage of facing the truth about themselves by asking how their friends and family perceive, them I am attaching the questions. Feel free to copy them and give them to the ones who know you BEST and that you TRUST (that’s important because you want feedback from those who know you).
After my next class**…uh…I mean “meeting”, I will post what we are to do with these responses. And I hope to pick a few friends who want to journey with me along this path of discovery and healing.
Cheering for you,
** UPDATE: Although we discussed this in class the following week, we did not discuss what to do about it! LOL. Soooo…I’m still learning and eager to know myself. When I do, you can bet I will share. 3.30.11
Your friend has asked you to fill out this checklist, marking the items that you believe are true of her fairly often. In giving you this checklist, your friend is taking a risk, putting some trust in you. We hope you will respect that trust by telling her what you really think, confronting her if she tries to punish you for being honest, and not telling anyone else about the checklist or what you have observed about your friend. Circle or check the items that are true fairly often.
- loves to help others and do favors
- places a high value on keeping the peace
- is pleasant but rarely passionate
- rarely loses her temper
- rarely invites people to know what’s going on insider of her
- is an energetic worker and organizer
- avoids asking for help
- hates to impose on people
- is very concerned of what people think of her
- rarely laughs uncontrollably
- plays the martyr
- gets depressed when someone tells her she’s withholding herself or when confronted
- can not stand to say no
- hates conflict or having people upset with her
- apologize a lot
- insists that people by pleased with her
- invites people to take her for granted
- is quietly, pleasantly detached from deep involvement with people
- rarely expresses soft feelings, such as tenderness, sorrow, or fear
- tends to be take-charge, task-oriented, and no nonsense
- avoids appearing weak
- is easy to respect
- is easy to fear
- loses her temper often
- is sensitive when snubbed
- is suspicious of other’s motives
- tends to be critical
- likes to air her own opinions
- is impressively competent at practically everything she tries
- acts like a know it all
- likes to have the last word
- doesn’t let people get close to her
- can silence people with a look
- has a biting wit
- seems too busy to focus on a person
- expects to be in charge
- will go toe to toe with people who cross or compete with her
- is not a person most people enjoy for herself, but rather for her abilities
- is hard to pin down
- has wild or moderate, but noticeable mood swings
- is inconsistent and fickle
- can be warm one minute and demanding and whiny the next
- can be whiny one day and surprisingly brave the next
- is easily hurt
- takes things out of content or mishears them
- uses sexuality to seduce people into doing what she wants
- uses fragile health or emotions to manipulate people into giving her, her way
- flirts a lot
- receives advances from men and acts surprised
- goes into depression when someone wounds her
- tries to keep her spouse/children dependent on her
- loves in a demanding way
- makes a person feel deeply needed
- makes me feel guilty when I let her down
- gets of relationships when they cost too much
- makes me feel I could never do enough to make her happy
- is confusing and frustrating