11.08.2009

rock the casbah




One of the interesting things I have recently noticed about myself (while learning how to be a mother of a special needs boy) is that despite a medical explanation and diagnosis for him, I still find in a public setting that my shortcomings must be obvious to others and viewed as the reason for my son's (at times) challenging behaviors.

Recently an old friend from college shared with me a compliment about what he remembered about me from the time we were friends. The timing of this compliment could not have come on a better week. I told him briefly of my family. About my amazing husband, adorable children and our current journey understanding Zane being on the autism spectrum. He told me about his experiences working with special needs children as an intern. Then he assured me that he imagined I am doing well by my children as, he said, he remembered that I always seemed put my everything into the things I do.

I came away from that message with a bashful blush, but a certain knowledge that he was right. I really do give my family everything I have. Even as I am aware I am not perfect and I have a high standard for myself, I can look back and know that with the experience and knowledge I have had with every step of parenting each of my children, despite my shortcomings, I have definitely, always given it my all. This realization brought me great comfort and tremendous courage to continue doing what I am really good at doing- working hard. And to let go of the worries of where I fall short in more spots than I care to admit.

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Recently a nice woman in Relief Society quoted this part of a great talk from 1976:

We can distinguish more clearly between divine discontent and the devil’s dissonance, between dissatisfaction with self and disdain for self. We need the first and must shun the second, remembering that when conscience calls to us from the next ridge, it is not solely to scold but also to beckon.

The Savior wants us to remember that we give it our all. The adversary wants us to focus on our shortcomings, it pleases him when we beat ourselves up too harshly. The Savior welcomes healthy self inventory checks that inspire positive change within. I'd say there is a big difference between the two that is important to remember when engaging in self-reflection.

Her quote led me to find the talk from 1976, I think it provides great wisdom. Especially this portion:

Some of us who would not chastise a neighbor for his frailties have a field day with our own. Some of us stand before no more harsh a judge than ourselves, a judge who stubbornly refuses to admit much happy evidence and who cares nothing for due process. Fortunately, the Lord loves us more than we love ourselves. A constructive critic truly cares for that which he criticizes, including himself, whereas self-pity is the most condescending form of pity; it soon cannibalizes all other concerns.
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