LOVING YOUR TAIL & BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE
Church doesn’t realize he has a tail most of the time. (How does he not notice it there though? It's huge. He knocks over every beverage ever placed on the coffee table and if you’re eating he’s sure to wag it right across your plate and leave hairs in your food.) But when he does find it, he is SOO upset about it. He hates it. He chases it in circles and then bites it and then proceeds to pull as much fur out of it as possible…then he looks at me with that mouth full of fur and watery, sad eyes. I don’t know why he hates it so much; I think it’s a great tail (except when it’s knocking everything off the tables).
It’s no wonder that I love his tail though, I love everything about him. I actually think he is quite perfect. He’s my son, I am probably incapable of thinking anything different. If you have pet children, or real children (I imagine the feeling is even stronger in this case) then you likely understand this thought. He is perfect just the way he is. But when thinking about yourself, how do you feel? Do you feel like you’re perfect? I would guess most us (on at least some days) would agree that we don’t think we’re perfect. Heck, some days I barely think I’m mediocre. But someone does see you as perfect, and they are cringing every time you beat yourself up.
If Church ( you can insert your child/perfect pet’s name here) told me he hated himself and wanted a new tail (I know it’s silly, but stick with me here) I would be crushed. Crushed because I see him as so perfect just the way he is, with no need to change. Crushed because he deserves to feel worthy and beautiful and confident in his own skin.
I felt the way Church feels about his tail for a long time. I felt so imperfect. I hated parts of myself and felt like I would only be lovable if I was able to change those things (I think Church's issues are slightly less serious though, don't worry). This distorted view of myself was consuming. Everything I did was controlled by this negative self image. My “tail” was my body. I’ve always felt I wasn’t skinny enough, I needed to be thinner, envied others who were, and insisted that everything I did be based around that one goal, get skinnier. But then when you reach that goal, it’s not enough…you need to set a new one. I struggled with this for years…beginning in high school, through college, and probably only began to fully accept and love myself within the past year or so.
You’re probably wondering…how did you just move past those negative thoughts one day!? It didn’t resolve itself in one day, and it’s still something I have to remind myself whenever negative self talk starts to creep back in…but being confronted by the thought that God made me exactly the way he intended for me to be was a powerful statement. A pastor at one of my previous churches had some words of wisdom on this topic. He told me that every time I told myself I wasn’t good enough or that I needed to be something else to be more perfect, I was telling God that he did a poor job. That his very handiworks were wrong. I was insulting God, not just myself. It’s like telling the expert in the field that you could have done it better. Try telling Martha Stewart that you are a better crafter than her when you’ve never even done a craft in your life…insulting. Not only was I insulting him, I was CRUSHING him. He was sad that I was so disappointed in my own body. I felt guilty...but guilt is a wasteful feeling so I wrapped that up real quick and moved on towards positivity.
I no longer felt that I had the right to complain about the way I was made. Regardless of whether it was God or my parents who created me so perfectly, the way they both see me is in a perfect light and not only should I accept who I am, but I should be very thankful. Thinking about my complaints from a parental perspective allowed me to understand that I am exactly who I am supposed to be, and perfect in my own right.
This concept flipped a switch for me personally. Not only was I trying to be someone I was never intended to be, I was also crushing the person that I was supposed to be. God created me to be an athlete, and I wanted to mold myself into a stick figure. I sacrificed greatness in my field to make sure I wasn’t eating too much. I was improperly fueling my body for workouts just to be skinny instead of fueling for high performance. I was made this way FOR A REASON!
What a waste of energy to speak negativity into your own life…you need to be your biggest fan. If you cannot fully accept and love yourself, you will never enter a relationship where you allow someone to do that very thing. You cannot ask someone to love every piece of you, if you’re not convinced yourself. You cannot perform to your highest degree at home or work if your thoughts and energy are consumed with self loathing.
When I tell you that Church has been my greatest teacher (thinking of changing his name to Prof. Church E. Bear), I am not over exaggerating. I call him my angel, and while he’s technically not supernatural (although I’d argue that point too), I am 100% sure that God sent Church here to prepare me for great things and for great love, and he knew I couldn’t do it in my pre-Church state!
The way I feel about Church is one of the deepest kinds of love I’ve ever known. I see perfection when I look at him, and I now know and accept that God (and likely my parents) sees that same perfect image when they look at me. I hope Church knows he is perfect to me, and I hope you know that you’re perfect to someone too!
As promised, later this week I'll update you on some of my days of gratitude! I hope y'all have been staying thankful this month...and becoming happier while doing it!