Lies that keep us stagnant
"You're so easily distracted." "You always make careless mistakes." "You are so bad at details." "You're always so clumsy!"
"You really are limited."
These statements above are all actually true of me. I am easily distracted (just ask my long-suffering family and friends). I do have a propensity for careless mistakes, even when I actually try to be careful (ask my math teachers!). Working with meaningless details over a prolonged period makes me bad company to be around. Clumsiness? I accidentally dropped ham in my car yesterday and just this morning at breakfast, yummy but gooey lotus paste somehow fell from the bun I was eating, missed my plate and landed splat on my woven placemat (which then had to be scrubbed). My friends will call that an "Ann moment"!
The lie isn't in these descriptions about myself but the way in which I have interpreted them throughout my life.
I truly AM limited - I can't nearly do as many things as I want to do and I cannot even multi-task like so many of the people I know can. That used to be a point of envy for me, sometimes it still is. I was made to focus on one thing at a time, but to move from one thing to the next in quite rapid succession and in a pattern that is indiscernible for most people.
So where is the lie, you might be wondering. The lie isn't in these descriptions about myself but the way in which I have interpreted them throughout my life. Instead of simple factual statements that are true in specific contexts, my life script has interpreted these statements as value judgments that make me feel "less than" and not worthy of love.
I learned that these descriptions of me that I had hated when I grew up were endearing if I could see them in the fuller context of who I am.
But as I learned more about my true self and welcomed who I was, I learned that these descriptions of me that I had hated when I grew up were endearing if I could see them in the fuller context of who I am.
"I am easily distracted." That's because the world is full of pattern and creative possibilities for me. It's true that I had to learn how to tame this "power" of seeing connections everywhere, but the mere fact that my attention is often arrested by what my husband calls "butterfly moments" is just a reflection of the way I perceive the world.
"I always make careless mistakes." "You are so bad at details." My mind is captured by ideas much more than my physical senses are by what I can see, hear, smell, taste or touch. When I have done something, I don't want to have to go over every detail to double-check that it's perfect - and even when I do go over every detail, I will still miss the mistakes.
I have also found that accepting mistakes in this area and learning to ask for help have kept me from feeling that this area of weakness is some kind of character or moral defect.
I have accepted that this is a weakness of mine and I try to be more patient with myself when I need to work with sensory/physical detail. But I have also found that accepting mistakes in this area and learning to ask for help have kept me from feeling that this area of weakness is some kind of character or moral defect.
"I'm always so clumsy!" Ok you know what? I've accepted that my body is as clumsy as my mind is nimble. And I've also found that those accidental "Ann moments" help to break the intensity of my personality (both for myself and others!) at unexpected moments. I have learned to stop scolding myself for being clumsy and knocking into things and to let those knocks be a reminder to live a little more slowly and gently.
I have come to appreciate that the specific pattern and combination of my limitations show me the shape and focus of my giftedness.
"I really am limited." Yes I am, but I have come to appreciate that the specific pattern and combination of my limitations show me the shape and focus of my giftedness. It helps that one of my greatest gifts is seeing pattern and making connections - and as it turns out, this has become a big part of my vocation. I help people see the patterns and make connections in their life!
So it's ok if I'm not good with details or that I'm not physically agile. Believing these to be character flaws had made them into the false limits of my life - these lies kept me feeling small and unsure of my ability. But now I see them for what they are - true facts about me that reveal both true limits that I need to honour and false limiting beliefs that I can discard. And you know what? That's so very liberating!
Listen to Episode 19 True vs. False Limits (with Henry Hoo) on the Becoming Me Podcast from Wednesday 7 April, 2021.
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