If you have spent any time getting to know me either in person or through reading my posts here or my articles at Catholic Sistas or Catholic Stand, you know that my past greatly influences not only how I live my life but how I feel about myself as well. I have spent much of my life trying to figure out how not to make the mistakes my parents made and to love myself and to feel worthy of love. I often don’t see myself the way others see me. It can be a real hindrance to my life… and to my children.
In my effort to avoid the mistakes my own parents made I have made different mistakes. I wasn’t always aware of those mistakes, but I am becoming more aware of them now. My blind spots are becoming less invisible (as these are not my only blind spots!) and I am working to make sure that I listen to those who lovingly tell me that I need to change. But I have to tell you… it’s challenging and sometimes very painful to recognize those blind spots and to deal with them.
Chapter 30: Blind Spots
Matthew Kelly tells us that we often don’t see ourselves as we truly are. Perhaps we build ourselves up to think we are better than everyone else (and our society often calls this “confidence” but it is not) or perhaps we tear ourselves down and don’t see our worth (and some view this as “humility” but is not either); but rarely do we ever see ourselves as we truly are. We can have blind spots that prevent us from seeing the truth for many situations, including seeing the truth about ourselves.
But it’s important that we do see those blind spots so that we can change things to become the best version of ourselves. In thinking about my lack of ability to see my worth, I found that when I put myself down it greatly affected my children. When I would fail in some aspect of motherhood and would make a comment in passing that I was a “crappy mom” I didn’t realize that I was hurting my children. I didn’t feel it was a reflection on them, but me simply stating the truth of what I felt about myself. What I found from my kids is that it made them feel terrible because they didn’t feel that way about me and it felt like I was really destroying something they truly love (cue the “this makes me feel like a crappy mom times a thousand” music!). It was truly an eye-opener! I didn’t know that I was hurting them by not being able to love me.
Point to Ponder: We all have blind spots.
The key to understanding and overcoming our blind spots is having true humility. True humility will allow us to hear others and work to make the changes in our lives that we need to make. Often we are so focused on others’ faults that we simply can’t, or won’t, see our own. Matthew Kelly pointed out that pride is what prevents us from hearing God’s voice and from responding to it.
We have to learn to move past our pride and into humility and docility. We not only have to be coachable but we have to want to be coached. How many of us don’t want to change because it’s just too much work or we simply don’t think we need to? Pride keeps us from hearing God calling to us. It can be painful to accept that there are areas in which we may not be the best versions of ourselves. It can feel like a direct and personal attack on us especially if we suffer from low self-esteem or any other worth issues.
Verse to Live: “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3
It is easy for us to see others’ faults and it is easy to call out others’ pride, but it is very difficult to see our own. For some of us who are perhaps more self-aware, we may see our own faults but still focus on other people’s faults instead. Why do we do this? We do this because it is easier to talk about change than it is to work to change. When we notice other people’s faults and we point them out, it’s not our responsibility to do the changing but it is their responsibility. Pointing out their faults and perhaps even giving advice on how to change it can make us feel like we are part of the solution. The problem is we can’t truly see the full scope of other people’s issues when our vision is obscured by the log that remains in our own eye. Our pride makes us feel that we can, but we simply can’t.
If we want to really help others on their way to heaven we first have to take a hard look at ourselves and where we need to change… and then we have to make those changes. We have to pull that log out of our eye so that we can see clearly to lead others to Christ.
Question to Consider: How are your blind spots affecting your relationships?
Well, as I stated above, one of my huge blind spots (not being able to see my worth and coming down hard on myself when I didn’t live up to the standard that I have for myself or feel my kids deserve in a mother) was making my children feel terrible. By not being able to acknowledge my own worth I was affectively telling them that they were wrong to love me- warts and all- and that they were wrong to think that I was a good mother. It sent out a message that if I fail then I am not good enough and that if they failed, they are not good enough either. It was a terrible message to be sending. I’m thankful one of my children was able to vocalize this and to help me see this blind spot. I still struggle with it, but I am working on it.
Your Turn: Are you judgmental? Do you see other people’s faults but not your own? Are you prideful? Are you open to hearing where your blind spots may be? Are you open to seeing yourself and others as God truly sees you?
Prayer: Lord, take the blindness from my eyes so that I can see people, situations, and myself as you do.