Do you ever think of what “the best of you” looks like? What really looks like you, and not some layering over or reflecting of another’s view of you? I was listening to a morning show interview of Brooke Shields, model and actress, and she was asked about her sense of fashion. She answered that she was dressed by others from such an early age (in a child career) that she didn’t have a sense of personal style until much later in her life and that now it revolved around what was “the best of her”. Reflecting her core self.
Of course when we talk style and fashion, precious little is “the best of me”, and we are always checking in with experts, mavens, and reactions of those around us. Kind of the opposite of “core self”, but the idea remains that at some point we recognize that there is a self that is unique from roles and reactions. What we do with that self is important.
There is a strange paradox in knowing what the best, core self consists of- while it isn’t defined by what others think it is, it is most revealed by the impact it makes on others. We often get that turned around. That is why we so often accept a view of ourselves as defined by others. Our true self, the person that we were made to be, will affect others because people best respond to what they discern as “real” and “honest”; it is that contact that will make the greatest impression. We, and everyone around us, will only end up confused if operating as if the words and views of others are to be taken as the true picture of who we are and what we may best accomplish. Just the psychological dynamic of “projecting”, alone, is an indication of how this is true.
“Projecting” is when we ascribe our own feelings, traits, and thoughts to someone other than ourselves. This happens so much that if we get the message that we are a certain type of person, we may well attract more of those same messages from others. Just because we have accepted that view of ourselves.
The one great lesson I am learning right now, at the end of life as I near my sixtieth decade, is that only the God who made and saved me can truthfully define me. He can describe my traits, outline my purpose, correct my faults… even to wiping them away with what actually is and was always meant to be “the best of me”.
Something that I meditate on as I try to grasp this way of thinking is “as He is , so are we in this world”
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. – 1 John 4:17
We have Christ’s nature in us, but how will that be recognizable if we don’t understand this about ourselves, and reflect it in our actions?
So much of what we do derives from the way in which we see ourselves. Whether we think we are smart or stupid, failures or successes, kind or cruel, strong or weak, emotional or intellectual, much of how we behave is acting out this inner picture.
That may well be a good part of why “positive thinking” or “visualization” works so well for many people. It is not a parlor trick, instead it is more of a self actualization or self-prophecy which we fulfill. Understanding your self, in your own unique expression of how you work, think, and relate best in this world allows God to show you both His and your own importance. Like the right tool for the job, or a fitting word in a situation, or anything where the nature is in harmony with the effort. We are not “things” but we do have substance, a disposition, and pre-dispositions. We come into this world with a specific set of DNA, inside a specific set of conditions, with which to work. That is why we make such efforts all our lives to understand how we fit (or try to understand how we don’t)…. we want to express the best, true self.
I think that is what God wants for us, and that our greatest advocate will always be Christ, Who understands us and what we go through. The best gift is to finally become comfortable in our own skin- not just plain comfortable. I believe that will lead me to the day when I can say, without delusion, that I have no regret. Finding my core self, at last.