Facing Faults & Fears

“Do not think of your faults; still less of others’ faults; look for what is good and strong; and try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off like dead leaves, when their time comes.”
 -John Ruskin

I am learning slowly to apply the principles above to my own life. I strive constantly to see the best in those I come into contact with. I seek diversity and promote having an open mind. I seek balance and fairness, I’m a good listener, and I love to help people. I’m generally not the type that finds and dwells on the faults of others. I have not been so kind to myself. 

So much have I assisted friends and loved ones in times of hardship and change, that I’ve been lovingly labeled, “The Angel of Change.” While helping others, I’ve neglected my own needs and well being.

I’ve spent much of my life  consumed with guilt, remorse, or regret for things that should have been learned from and then forgotten. I learned as I could, but the accumulation of past mistakes (as I’ve viewed them) quickly overwhelmed me and consumed my life. The guilt made it much easier to ignore my own doubts, troubles, and despair, and to focus on “taking care” of others as I helped them through their times of hardship and change. Only recently have I realized that I have used my knack for helping others to avoid facing my own fears and problems. By focusing on the problems of others, I’ve stopped my own personal progress in all aspects of life: physical, mental, and spiritual.

When I focused only on the needs of others, I brought some of their problems upon myself and successfully avoided my fears of actually taking a look at myself and dealing with my issues and my problems. I’ve gotten very good at collecting leaves.

All of this leaf collecting has helped me to develop my interpersonal skills- to the point that dealing with others’ problems is, quite often, a pleasure. I delight in the challenges I’m faced with, and I take satisfaction out of the peace and happiness I’m able to pass on to others. My ability to look at a situation objectively, without judging harshly, has helped me greatly in relationships both past and present. Now,  fortunately, those skills I’ve developed help me daily at work and contribute to the overall pleasure I take in my profession.

With these realizations comes the responsibility to face my faults, problems, imperfections with the same compassion I give to others and without judging myself so harshly that I can’t move on. In the great words of a song Perry Como sang, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween.”

 

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