Self Image

by on Dec.06, 2009, under Faith, fitness

Why is it so hard for so many of us to have a decent self image?

I had coffee with a friend today and he gave me a card.  In this card he had written me a nice note.  Here’s an excerpt:

You’re a great guy always looking out for others whether you’re the one to congratulate them during the good or be a shoulder to cry on for the bad.  You’re a very smart guy with a steady career who is very independent.  You strive to keep up your body, mind and spirit like no other and I respect that.

First, let me say that I have a lot of respect for him too for many reasons that I’d rather not go into here.  Let’s just say most people in the situation he and I found ourselves in would never end up as friends.  Frankly it should say a lot about both of us that we built a friendship out of it.  Based on that, what he said there means more to me than I can put into words.  The person he described is the person I have tasked myself with becoming during the last couple of years.  I don’t know if I’m there yet, but that’s kind of the point of this blog post 😉

Here’s another excerpt from a note my little big sis sent me a little while back:

I just wanted to tell you how much I admire you for being such an honorable man.  Your integrity and intelligence are characteristics that you should be very proud of, not to mention your honesty, respect and sincerity.  I am proud to have you as a brother and I know my daughters can look to you for an example of a “real” man.  Here’s to a fabulous future, for you deserve nothing less!

Or how about this one, from a man who was once like a second father to me (keep in mind my own father could never be replaced!)

…We still love you as a son.  You are a good man…  God will see to it that you are taken care of!!  Love ya!

Or this from a relatively new friend:

I’m so glad we get to serve together as well as become friends!  God Bless ST!

Yet another:

I pray for you often as I know the pain you must often feel.  You’re taking huge steps though and seem to always be moving closer to Christ.  Keep seeking.  Keep taking steps in the right direction and look forward to the time when you can look back and see how God used difficult times to draw you closer to Him.

This was written about a year ago, but today I can do exactly that:  I can look back and see what God has done since I finally began to give my life back to Him.  It’s amazing, and the opportunities that the author has given me have been just incredible chances for me to build new friendships and to learn new skills from being more social to being a leader.

Finally, this one is a little old — it’s from my organizational announcement, when I was promoted to senior software developer:

Tom is committed to delivering products that meet or surpass the expectations of his customers.  He is also a team player who will do what it takes to help his colleagues.

Ok.  So at this point you’re thinking “Jeez, done tooting your own horn yet?”  Well I was thinking about all these things today.  All these nice notes, cards, letters that people have given me…  and I can’t help but wonder why I still feel like I’m so far off from the person I really want to be?  If everyone else thinks I’m such a great person, why do I feel like I lack so much?

So, I guess the question is who do I really want to be?  I love those things about myself — that I am the first to congratulate, or a shoulder to cry on; that I am smart and independent and have a steady career; that I strive to keep up body soul & spirit.  I definitely want those to remain as part of the definition of “me.”  So, what’s missing?  I mean… is the reason I don’t think I am who I want to be simply because I don’t know who I want to be?

Well, let’s lay down the foundation of who I want to be.  Friends, I look to you for help in reaching this.

  1. A Leader.  I think I’ve always been an effective member of any team I’ve been on, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever really been able to translate that to actually leading the team.  Oh, I certainly think I’m capable of being an effective leader, but right now I think I just don’t know how.
  2. Disciplined.  I know how to be disciplined, but to be completely honest, laziness can get the best of me which can cause me to let the discipline slip and I end up being sloppy.
  3. Devoted.  I think I’ve already got this one, but I want to do everything in my power NOT to lose it. 
  4. Honest.  I think I do a pretty good job with this one too.  More than anything, I think I need to make sure I’m being honest with myself.
  5. Loving.  This has to be the most important one!  Again, I think this is one I do a pretty good job with — I’ve always been the kind of guy that likes to help others, whether they need me to help them move things, or they need someone to listen to them, or they need a hug.  I’m sure there are examples of things I’ve done which weren’t exactly loving, and those are the types of things I want to eliminate!
  6. Confident.  I’ve got a lot of work to do here.  Really, I do.  I have all kinds of reasons to be confident in pretty much anything I do, yet all the time I second guess myself, which is often what causes me to slip up on #1 and #2 above.

So there you go.  If I had all these qualities, I’d be the guy I want to be.  The guy I NEED to be.  The guy everyone else demands I be?  Maybe, maybe not.  One thing I’ve realized while thinking about all this — it doesn’t really matter what other people think of me, it matters what I think of me.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Laura Jo

    Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for another thoughtful read.

    Balance has been a theme lately in my life. It comes out in my Bible studies, in my health thoughts, in managing my schedule, in almost everything. I think we also need to feel balanced about who we strive to please…as a Christian God is the first I want to please…usually if I strive to do my best to please Him everything goes better. Scripture and counsel from Christian friends I trust is my guide for deciding this. Sometimes it is trial and error. Thank God for forgiveness.

  • Dad

    Wow,I’m impressed with your thinking, your writing, and your insight. I congratulate you on your growth especially over the past year. You have allowed your experiences in, accepted them and used them to learn and grow stronger.
    Confidence is a curious thing. I too, feel under confident. But I think that causes me to think more carefully and conscientiously about each important decision. I always want to make sure I make the right choice especially in the roles of leadership. I hate taking people down an unproductive path. I know of one or two administrators who were over confident and, I thought, impulsive. They gallop off in some direction with half of there team while offending people along the way. They leave with bridges burned.
    As for leadership, I think that is a matter of strecthing your comfort level. It takes experience. It means taking on leadership roles and working hard to make everyone a success. And it means taking responsibility for issues even if they are not your fault. A leader is an example to all who work with that person. He/she must be what he/she expects others to be. To work as hard or harder, to study as hard or harder, to puzzle over problems as well and always being there to help and support. You already have the qualities you need. It is now a matter of stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on more leadership roles. I have seen you lead in numerous situations and I’ve seen those around you look to you for wisdom and direction. Go for it!

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