As I pondered what I would like to give up for Lent, a very important issue came into my focus and mind. I really believe God drew this to me and I feel “we” have decided upon this one. I’m going to give up caring what other people think of my decisions and I’m going to work on “re selfing” myself. I’m no longer leaving my decisions to others but I am going to take care of them all myself, regardless to what others think. Re selfing is a term I picked up from Author Harriet Lerner in her book “The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships.” I highly recommend this book as a good read for you. I am sure you will find a scenario in there that reflects part of your “self”.
This means taking responsibility toward self care upon myself. It’s basically where it belongs, right? No one else can provide this for me or for you who are reading. We have to provide this on our own no matter what it takes. Surprisingly it might take more than you think. Once I took a hard look at it all, I never realized just how much of my own decisions I have made according to what others might think about it, care about it, object to it, or not like it. Even with the knowledge that I deserve my own life while living it with others. Even with the knowledge that I deserve the best in this life, even if others don’t think so. Even with the knowledge that my best blessed life depends upon it, I still did not completely do it.
So, I am on a mission! I am putting my own desires, decisions, and destinations back into my own hands with God. Part of that means doing this even when others disagree, feel discomfort, or have to deal with their own “re selfing” because of it. Let’s not confuse re selfing with being selfish. Being our authentic self is the best gift we can also give to others as well. It causes them to look more deeply at their own self and make new decisions according to what they see or feel. It leaves others with their own feelings and whatever those might be, they will have to deal with them. You see, re selfing means also keeping out of others decisions as much as it means stepping completely into our own.
This has to be done without the fear of other’s reactions. Remember this always; you can not please everyone. There will always be someone who does not agree with you! Also, this does not have to be a harsh decision in which you have to fight tooth and nail to get what you want. You simply do it and leave others reactions to themselves. It does not mean we don’t care and it does not mean we don’t love. It means we love ourselves enough to gift ourselves with God’s best. This also means obeying God for ourselves when others around us don’t want to obey Him. Our responsibility is not to fix anyone else’s sin. We can comment on it in the form of guidance but we can not make someone want to change. They have to do that on their own.
So, what does this mean in the context of relationships?
It means to express our authentic self and ideas without the fear of retaliating opposing comments. Someone else’s ideas and opinions do not make ours wrong for us. We are entitled to our own even if someone else disagrees with us harshly. Their disagreeing emotions belong to themselves. We care about them, but we can not change nor guide them. Re selfing means claiming our own lives and allowing others around us to adjust accordingly. Maybe some will do more than disagree. Maybe they will distance themselves. So be it! They were not meant to be in our lives then anyway. Anyone who does not want the best for you does not belong with you! I can’t even stress this enough.
On the flip side, being our authentic self means allowing others to be theirs as well. We can not guide or dictate someone else’s decisions no matter how upset they make us. We can respond to them as long as we don’t react. We can make our own decision according to how we feel about it. If they violate our boundaries then we also can decide to disconnect from them. It sounds easier than it really is. The concept is simple, but it takes some practice and faith. In the long run; I have to tell you the truth. Re selfing is the greatest thing you could ever do for your life. You are too important to pass yourself by! So, please pray about this for yourself! I’m sure that God will empower you because He wants the best for you too!
Loving myself and YOU from here!
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
800-421-1765 for prayer