Catholicism: Day 6 – You’re a mixed bag (and that’s ok)

Today’s spiritual exercise asked us to review Isaiah 43:1-7 or Psalm 139:1-18 again and consider gifts and talents God gave us as well as our limitations. It also asks us to remember that God loves us as we are.

Perhaps the “God loves you” bit doesn’t make sense to you, but you can probably relate to feeling inadequate about yourself. When you fail to meet your own expectations, it hurts. When you compare yourself to others more successful than you, it hurts.

You might also find yourself criticizing others for being less than perfect. If someone irritates you, you might think they have some fundamental character flaw, and only see them for their flaws. You wonder why other people can’t be better.

Acknowledging and accepting that you or others aren’t perfect is incredibly difficult. Perhaps we will never be able to do it. There’s always something about ourselves that we don’t like that we keep trying to fix or perhaps there is no way we can reconcile with someone who has wronged us.

That’s why there is so much emphasis on making a good first impression when you meet someone. It’s very hard to recover from a bad first impression, even if that first impression doesn’t really represent you and you do other great things later.

One of the central themes of lifestyle design blogs is self-improvement, the idea that you can become better and as result of you becoming better, achieve the life you want to live.

I applaud their desire to do better, to be better. If you want to improve your business skills, great! If you want to become a better networker or more social or improve your fashion sense, good for you.

But it’s only natural that when you try to improve, you expose your own shortcomings.  And you are probably afraid to reveal your shortcomings to others for fear of being judged.

Now imagine that someone could accept you and all your flaws. They would know your dark side and still love you, unconditionally.

Parents feel this for their children, though they don’t know everything that’s going on with you. You may be hesitant to share things with your parents; I certainly don’t share everything with them.

Your spouse will also know your flaws and if it’s a good relationship, he or she will accept them.  But they are human and will still wish you would change certain things about yourself.

It’s extremely comforting to think of someone that could know everything about you, good and bad, and still love you, perfectly and without apology.

I liked this particular spiritual exercise because it forces you to acknowledge that it is incredibly difficult to accept yourself and others completely, that perhaps only a divine being could do so.

If you don’t believe in a divine being, it is still a reminder that you should be more accepting of your imperfectness and the imperfectness of others, that it’s ok to be a mixed bag.