Monday, March 16, 2009

Throwing away the puzzle called me.

It hurts being a fake person. I'm not talking about lies, or masks, or transparency. I'm talking about not being a real person. Feeling like you are a shadowy imitation of the real thing. That your life is just photocopy of what a real life looks like. To know that what you see is what black and white is to color photos. The whole world is washed out, even the brilliant parts of it.

There's a lot of fuss today about self esteem. "Jonny dresses like Suzie because he suffers from low self esteem." But the truth is, having any self esteem is having too much. To esteem is to regard favorably or admirably. But there's noting favorable or admirable abut us. Nothing to favor. Nothing to admire. Some people might think that meeting requirement is something that merits esteem. Do you get praised for waking up in the morning? Making your bed? Doing school? No. Those are the standards that you are supposed to live up to; meeting requirements - however nice it is to do - is nothing admirable. It's just what's required.

So why is any self-esteem too much? Because God requires perfection. Anything less is abhorent. We're so far from meeting expectations, and we're thinking about ourselves as if we've surpassed them. That's wrong. Far from thinking to little of ourselves, we're thinking way too much.

Becoming a real person. It means throwing away the puzzle of self. We're an incomplete puzzle. Some people are convinced that they can find all of the missing pieces and become a complete, real, person. I don't think we can. We have gaps and spaces where we're missing bits of ourself. But the solution isn't to try to cover over the gaps. It's not to try to fill the spaces with inadiquate substitutes. It's to replace the whole puzzle. The picture we make is an ugly, hateful image. The picture that we replace it with is a beautul one. It doesn't have pieces, so it can't fall apart, it can't lose parts of itself. It is one complete piece that forms the whole. And it's a perfect picture of a cross.


  1. Mmmmm. That's lovely. But is self-esteem really the same as pride?

  2. The real problem I see with self-esteem is the self part. When we compare ourselves to others, maybe we are something good... but when we compare ourselves to the requirements, we're not. Nothing we - ourselves - do is worthy of esteem.

    So we get rid of the self.