It’s really easy when you are in the midst of a situation to not see the possibilities. At the time, though, it’s hard to see anything but what is in front of you. It’s also very easy to become comfortable because it’s familiar. We often believe that walking away from toxic situations is the hardest thing to do. I would say that staying can be equally as difficult, if not worse, for your long-term health and view of who you are. It’s knowing that you deserve better.
When we look in a mirror, we expect to see ourselves. But imagine if you haven’t seen who you really are in years. Looking at old pictures can remind us of who we used to be—we see ourselves as kids and we may have an idea of what we looked like, but there are details that we don’t remember. For decades, we have seen the adult version of ourselves. Our memories begin to fade affecting our ability to really visualize the totality of who we are. We are more than what we see in the present.
This happens when we are in environments that damage our well-being. We begin to adjust to the chaos, conflict, and confusion. The picture of who we really are and what we can become is jaded. Life has a way of distorting the way we appear because of the traumas we suffer—neglect, abandonment, disappointments, and rejection—are just a few of the experiences that shape who we are.
We may even externally appear to others as having it all together. But internally, we are so wounded. We can be torn to pieces because of the pain. Others may not see it because of the way we dress it up, but in actuality, we are living as a shell of who we could be. It’s tragic when we can’t see who we were created to be. We can become fixated on our physical appearance devoting so much time to covering up the outside without caring for our mind, emotions, and spirit
The limited view that we have of ourselves affects our thinking, the things we will or won’t do, and even our relationships. We’ll convince ourselves we need to stay in a relationship or a job because we don’t believe there’s more for us. We question if we somehow deserve this. God sees us so differently than we see ourselves. In Genesis, when God saw what He made, He said it was good (Genesis 1:31). “For every creation of God is good, and nothing that is received with thanksgiving should be rejected,” 1 Timothy 4:4.
What would happen if we gave thanks to God for all that He created, including ourselves and those around us? Our self-talk would change and even the way we talked about others would be different. We would see our value and ultimately, appreciate the value of others even when they don’t see us fully. We can easily deceive ourselves with the lies we are told about our inadequacies, faults and failures. The Bible tells us about self-deception and how it robs us. “Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like,” James 1:23. The word of God is our mirror. It reflects to us who we are and the greatness that lies within us. Yet if we allow the world to show us who we are and not God, if we do not make a practice of seeking God to define us—we are consistently re-injuring ourselves and others. God has so much more for you. Just know that you deserve better.
(To Listen to the podcast, visit: <www.audible.com/pd/THE-TAPESTRY-Podcast/B08JJNVS4G>. Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the vice president of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit <drfroswa.com>.)