Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Soft-soaping myself

SELF-AWARENESS IS a bit like a bar of soap in the shower. Just when you think you have a firm grasp on it, suddenly it has slipped through your fingers again.

At least, that’s been my experience over the past few years, in belatedly coming to some measure of understanding of the pushes and pulls of my nature.

Discovering that one of my core motivations is inner peace and outer absence of conflict was hugely liberating. It helped me recognize how, for a long time, I subconsciously looked for ways to avoid any kind of a clash.

I realized that, without having learned the skills of good personal communication, I’d defaulted to downplaying my own desires and interests to make sure I never stood in danger of rocking the boat. In place of internal calm, I’d settled for the numbness of distraction. The engine of my life may have been running, but it largely idled in neutral.

Not that this was all negative. That severe dislike of disagreement fostered a willingness, or an ability (maybe both), to see each side of a situation. Certainly an asset as a journalist, and also helpful when unable to avoid being drawn into difficulties between others.

But, like peeling layers of an onion, making sense of myself is ongoing. There is always something else to consider. For instance, recently I’ve been wondering about my capacity for over-spiritualizing things.

It’s been easier to spot in other people. Like that guy who describes himself as a visionary and a leader. Those qualities may be in there somewhere, but they are often buried deep beneath an egocentric control freak.

Turning the same “hard-truth” gaze on myself, I have to admit that I still sometimes try to disguise my tendency toward passivity as something more positive than it really is. “Waiting on God” in the face of challenges can be faith, but it can also just be a cop-out—not doing anything for fear of failure. Or, of being let down.

Which poses the always tough question I continually ask: Am I really coming clean, or am I just soft-soaping myself?

Photo on Foter.com

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