step forward

A while ago, in october, I posted here about a problem I have with bottling up my feelings. I’ve been thinking about that again and I feel like sharing some stuff here, just to get it out. When I had the accident with my car just before the new year, the only injury I had — apart from a cut lip — was to my pride. I was sitting high and mighty on my accident-free driving record for a long time, and all of a sudden, I got knocked off. And it wasn’t just my pride, either. To be blunt, I was disappointed because all of a sudden, I wasn’t perfect. Somehow I have this thing inside me that says, “Be perfect, or else you’re not worth anything.” I know that nobody can be perfect. Ask anyone and they’ll admit that no one can ever hope to be perfect. So how logical is it to be disappointed in oneself for not being perfect? And likewise, how logical is it to criticize someone else for not being perfect? I think the two go together, because I see both behaviours within me. I often have judgemental feelings about others (thankfully, I mostly avoid expressing them), and about myself. I judge everybody and hang them too. Even now, I’m judging myself. See how pervasive it is? Wow.

How do I accept my imperfections? How can it be okay to be any less than what you’re expected to be? And who’s expecting me to be anything anyway? I only have to report to God. And God loves me, no matter how imperfect I am. God loves addicts, robbers, traitors and killers, why not me? It doesn’t matter how far I’ve fallen short of His standard. He created me because He loves me and He will always love me. God loves all of humanity unconditionally. Why do I say this? Because that’s what He told me.

“O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic Hidden Words)

Even the paragraph I just wrote is an incomplete argument. But God loves me anyway. 😉 If you really want to know more, send me feedback and let’s talk.

This is the blessing that’s bestowed upon pioneers. As soon as one test is on the wane, a new one comes to take its place. In fact, the proof that God loves me is that He sends me so many tests. If He were to spare me all of the tests and tribulations, how would I ever get off my butt and become a better person?

But back to imperfections. I often do things that I feel ashamed of — ashamed because I know I could do better, but I’m afraid to take that step, I don’t want to step outside of what’s comfortable for me. I’m surrounded by people who have problems, who hurt, who need love, friendship, fellowship, and encouragement. And how many times have I taken the step outside my own “safety bubble”, held out my hand, introduced myself, and shown that sort of love and fellowship? Not many. I can’t think of one off the top of my head. I feel bad about that, because I know I could and should do better. I so desperately want to be that kind of person, and I get frustrated because I’m scared to take that step, I’m scared of being rejected, I’m scared of looking like a fool. That fear burns me like a deathless fire, and I know the only way out of it is to ask God for assistance and jump in. I get so frustrated, because I’m afraid. I can’t accept that fear. I hate it.

Sometimes I do insensitive things, too. Sometimes, whether I’m wrapped up in my own thoughts, nervous, pressed for time, distracted, or trying to handle too many things at one time, I do rude things, like show up late for a meeting or an appointment, forget to do things I said I would do, say something harsh or inappropriate, or whatever. And that’s not the worst of it. I feel like I’ve broken people’s trust lately. That bothers me, again, because I know I could do better. I know if I put my mind to it I could make the effort to be sensitive and respectful. I get frustrated because it seems that I only think of myself sometimes, that I’m self-centred. That hurts, to realize how self-centred you are. Sure, there are times when I’m not so self-centred. Still, when I am, it discourages me. I feel like I should be doing so much better, like this other person here or that person there. There are so many people, Bahá’ís or not, who are such shining examples of selflessness… so inspiring, and yet frustrating, because they’re at point A, I’m at point B, and I deeply want to be where they are.

sigh. I guess it’s like trying to get 250 HP out of a 108 HP engine. I’m not a fatalist, I’m an optimist. So I do believe that eventually, with effort, faith, reflection and prayer I can get there. There must be some way to accept myself as I am and still work towards something better. We must always keep in mind two things: We should never be satisfied with our present spiritual condition, and God has created us noble and worthy of His favour. It’s hard to explain. Even though we should never be satisfied with ourselves, we should remember that God has endowed us with nobility, and He loves us no matter where we’re at. And even though we need to accept and love ourselves, we should realize that there is always a higher station, a higher level of purity and awareness, to which we can climb.

more later, probably. I hope all of you are having a good week. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not check out the photo album I uploaded to care2? There’s photos of the Bahá’í winter school, my visit to Ottawa, and pictures of my newborn niece Zea 🙂 go see!

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