Friday, March 07, 2014

The Worth of a Soul: and How You Contribute or Tear It Down

I mentioned on Facebook this week that we watched the following video (watch on Youtube HERE) for our Monday night "Family Home Evening."



I watched my sister be bullied for years in Elementary School through her High School experience by girls in our own neighborhood who attended the same church as we did each week. While I knew some of it, I didn't know all of it (and probably won't know all of it ever). It hurts me to think that I wasn't mature enough to help stand up for her as I can recall only once when she came to me and shared a particularly cruel note they had sent her. That time my friends and I confronted the girls who lied through their teeth to try and get out of it. I wish I'd made a bigger stand against her bullies or done a better job of including her in my own group.

Recently I learned that women in my own neighborhood have been talking about me behind my back. While I certainly don't expect everyone to like me, it is always hurtful to hear that women who could spend their time being supportive and kind are spending it being mean. And while I haven't always been the most approachable and even sometimes withdrawn and shy, I don't think anyone deserves to be torn down whether publicly or privately.

As a teenager growing up I repeated the words "I am a Daughter of God who loves me and I love him" each Sunday in our youth church meeting. We were taught that we each have a Divine Nature and that God loves us and finds worth in each of us.

It is strange to think that others do not see that worth or that deliberately set out to hurt or demean others. As I think about the motivation behind such behavior, I wonder if we sometimes forget that the people we deal with every day have trials that we may not see making them appear cold, unkind, impatient, or even rude.

You never know if someone is struggling with a sick child, a difficult marriage, an overwhelming schedule, an abusive situation, or self-esteem issues. Because you cannot see into their soul, you may not understand why they are behaving in a way that you find offensive or "off."

Do you really want to be the person that contributes to those feelings of self-doubt, or lack of self-worth?

While I'm terribly saddened by some of the unkindness of people that I thought were friends, I'm also trying to judge them in a way that helps me understand their inner soul. Is there something I have done to hurt them without meaning to? Have I given into my own personal trials and missed the opportunity to warmly reach out to another person? Have I given offense through some thoughtless act? It is likely that I have done something to contribute to their feelings of frustration or anger towards me. I admit that I am guilty of being impatient, unkind, and even rude at times. I wish that I were always on top of my personal feelings and could put forth a happy, kind face no matter what I'm facing or feeling.

So while I wish that when I do something that hurts another person, they would confront me directly I'm also trying to let it go and forgive them in a way that I hope they will forgive me.

I'm trying to remember that "I am a Daughter of God who loves me and I love him."

I know He loves both those that hurt us and each of us even when we hurt others, though He is disappointed in our behavior. May I strive to build souls rather than tear them down, and help me to forgive others when they hurt me.

Let me be the champion for others' souls and not the one to tear them down.

11 comments:

  1. How anyone in your neighborhood could be running your down, I don't know. You seem like one of the sweetest person. It is cruel and hurtful, like you said. I don't understand that. To me, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I do know how it feels as I am in the same situation where I live, and I too don't think everyone has to like me. But, this neighborhood is very cliquey and full of a gossipy/in your business bunch. I don't want any part of it. So, I quit associating with any of them. Sad too. We were one of the first dozen families that moved into this new neighborhood 10 yrs ago. In the beginning, it was wonderful. I am not sure what happened over the last 6 yrs or so, but the dynamics sure has changed. I know some of it has to do with people moving in and out.

    I can't stand the bullying. I have been a recipient of it for too many years, by my peers in school and even my own family. It has made me a little too defensive at times and pretty feisty. And as a result of it, I tend to walk away from people that constantly put me down. Subsequently, I no longer see my parents or brothers.

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    1. Michelle, I'm so sorry. We are totally in the same boat on so many things. :( I think after time people get relaxed and aren't on their best behavior any more and start getting unkind. Makes me SO sad.

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  2. While the cruelty of others is hurtful and very often hard to understand, remember that you not only know who you are, but more importantly, WHOSE you are. Remain true to that, and you will be able to be kind even when others are unkind, loving when others are unloving (and even seemingly unlovable). And who knows? Perhaps you will effect a positive change in those very bullies when their nastiness no longer receives the kind of reaction that they feed upon. And even if they don't change, you will, because you'll be able to rise above the hurt. Blessings to you, Jen and Michelle, and anyone else who is experiencing this or has in the past. Daughters of God, claim His promise.

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  3. Joyce D3:00 PM

    Hugs!

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  4. I see this everyday in the hallways of my school. I am an elementary school counselor and see the hurt in children who use bullying behavior and the hurt in the targets. I don't wonder where these little ones learn the art of bullying - they are learning it now in the homes of your neighbors. I would look to what is most important to you as a child of God and a parent of your children. This is a huge teachable moment and not a reflection of you at all! Stand tall, take a deep breath and show your children how to be caring adults, who have confidence in themselves, who are resilient and positive when put down, and knowing that the fault is not with them, but with those who struggle to make joyful relationships. I am so sorry that this happened. I know you only through the joy you bring to me in your blog, with your talent, with your beautiful smile and with your giving heart. You are a daughter of God, rejoice in all the ways he has blessed you and will continue to bless you. I am your friend.

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  5. This made me sad! I think you are awesome - yours is the only blog that I have a daily email from, and that is because I find you inspirational both artfully and spiritually. Yes sometimes our behaviour can contribute to other people's behaviour, but sometimes they are just mean! Don't let them get you down - there are plenty of people who admire you and think only good things of you. Hugs.

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  6. So sorry you are experiencing this. I think we all experience this at some point or another and it is nice to hear a voice for so many of us who can't find one. This is very well written and I'm so glad you shared this with all of us.

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  7. The You Tube message was powerful! I the am sadden to think you could be the target of such mean spirited people when you are such a blessing and a joy to follow you on your blog. I grew up in the Midwest and it's difficult for me to express myself and I couldn't say it as well as Deb. You are loved by many and most certainly by God. Wish more people could see the beautiful rainbow following a storm instead of the storm itself. Much love to you!

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  8. Jen I would have you as my neighbour any day

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  9. Sorry you are facing that. But, you are right, we never really know what another person is going through. I was 'unfriended' on FB this week for a comment I made. I haven't seen ythe person in years, yet still I am upset by it

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  10. I have never understood why other people read quiet and shy as unfriendly. ..I rarely make friends outside of work because of it. I work in a retail store where I am somewhat animated , more outgoing because of the shield of the store (and I must to be successful in sales) but in real life setting it is very hard for me to speak to strangers.

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