Wednesday, March 17, 2010

True Colors

I see your true colors shining through, I see your true colors and that's why I love you. So don't be afraid to let them show, your true colors, your true colors are a rainbow.

Damnit, it's true! Why can't we believe this?

This song came on my ipod as I was driving home late this evening...and in the quiet of my car as I was cruising through Sardine Canyon, it really struck me that there are some quite amazing people that love me and believe in me...I'm convinced that they see my true colors, and that's why they love me.

About a month ago, my mom called and shared with me a Sunday School lesson that she had in church. The lesson was about not judging yourself but instead making simple observations. The teacher shared the idea that we are often too clouded in regards to our own lives and that the judgments that we make are consequentially too harsh and unrealistic. As a simple example, when we mess up on a new goal, we judge that all our efforts to that point have just been rendered as vain and that we have just thrown ourselves back to the beginning to start over from nothing. While we judge our actions as thus, others would see the learning and building that we had done to make it as far as we did. They would point out that we are not left to start over from nothing, rather that we've gained the lessons and experience from coming as far as we have...and that these will help us in trying again to succeed in attaining our goal. The point is that we fail to be reasonable and/or rational in the judgments that we pronounce upon ourselves.

I consistently fail to believe that God still loves me and isn't ashamed of who I've become. I do this because I judge myself as a sinner, a deliberately lost sheep, and an unrepentant son. Friends who know me well seem to recognize different qualities in me - good qualities that draw their attention, qualities that make them proud of me. Often, I dismiss their observations and compliments by saying that they just don't know me as well as I know myself...or that they don't spend as much time with me as I do. Well, while I may know some things about me that they don't know, I bet that their evaluation of my person and character are more accurate than mine. I dwell excessively on things I haven't done right, on things I really should have done better, on things I haven't done yet, and on things I should do but am afraid to fail at. With all this attention spent disproportionately on negative observations, it's no wonder I might struggle to like the person I've become. It's no wonder I judge myself the way I do.

So, what to do about it? Well, if someone is engaging in a behavior that is destructive, you'd tell them to stop...right? Maybe you'd tell them to go about it in a different way. So, I'm going to try to stop judging. I'll make observations and simply decide if the choices I'm making are helping me to be a healthy person or if they are hindering me in becoming a healthy person. No more condemning myself. Just observations...and then slowly pruning my behaviors and choices so that I grow healthier and happier. No more applying these abstract, universal, superstitious, and often indescribable laws of good and evil...rather, just using these small observations to separate the helpful from the damaging. Maybe after a time of doing this, I'll be able to see some of my true colors.

It's quite easy for me to see the incredible value and greatness in my friends and loved ones. Without having to search at all, I could list pages of evidence in support of their goodness and value to this world. I've thought quite a bit about it...and if you're reading this and I know you, you fall into this category. Don't question my sanity, but believe my words. Maybe if we stop judging ourselves, it'll get easier to be convinced of our worth. I really do think that our true colors are beautiful. We just need to believe it and stop damning ourselves like we do.

P.S. The pics are from my recent shoulder surgery from which I'm one week in recovery. I got too brave off a really big jump while skiing on Powder Mountain and separated my collar bone from my shoulder. The doctor stitched back together three ligaments and bolted down my clavicle. Oops.


Bravone said...

Roberto, your true colors are more beautiful than Joseph's amazing technicolor dream coat!

I think most of us are way to hard on ourselves. A therapist once suggested that I keep a journal of my feelings for a week, just feelings and the setting, without attempting to attach meaning or judgment to them. It was an enlightening experience to later review.

I think your approach is an excellent idea.

When you finally see the colors we do, we'll change your name to Roberto Joe!

Could have done without the photo :) I love you Robert. Hope your shoulder heals well.


Hillary Clemens said...

If I hadn't taken gross anatomy I'd be disturbed. Thank you for getting your shoulder back together so I can put my head there again someday.

p.s. LOVE the observations vs. judgements. That was the best skill I every learned after the 2005 trauma. Macro mode isn't a flattering, or accurate way to look at ourselves, eh? So glad you're my bestest.

Keaton said...

Things sound a little better since the last time...there is a hero in there somewhere. Its ok if this doesn't make sence. I'm just worried about how you were doing.
I don't know if the direction is as important as the peace one finds deep within. You have so much to give to this life. You touch people in special ways. Its hard for that to express itself if one is in tormoil..unresolved
..angry ...conflicted. I find this to be the situation with myself. I can't resolve this issue so I just move some degree live by faith but look for opportunities to educate and dispell the seething hatred of gayness.

Butterflies and hand-grenades said...

Hello fellow name-holder! (my real first name really is Robert : )

I know you may not be ready for it, but one of the best ways to stop hating yourself is to find someone who loves you for everything about you. (Keep in mind This is not a come-on...I am 9 years younger than you...haha) I don't know if you have tried, but a significant other might just make the difference. One of the biggest obstacles I had ever had to face was my own self loathing. It took the affection of 1 or 2 guys (nothing sexual) before I started to like myself. I have also done one thing you seem to be on the edge of, that is leaving the church. Though it may not be right for you, I found that separating myself from an institution that only ever showed me a cold shoulder did wonders for me. I felt worthy of love and friendship for who I am, not in-spite of who I am. I stopped feeling slimy and started feeling the first genuine happiness I have felt in 2-3 years. Have a great day sir, you deserve those and many more.