Daily Beauty, Day #15: Let Down
Even if we always acted lovingly towards others, some of their words and deeds would still frustrate us. Sometimes we may experience these negative feelings because the behaviour of people around us is less than admirable or does not comply with how we ourselves would have acted in a similar situation.
There are other times (many times, inevitably) when people let us down. This is something we all expect. We know that people are not perfect and that we have disappointed those closest to us as well. And yet, we are never prepared when our trust is betrayed, when our confidences are held carelessly and our divulged hopes and dreams are forgotten or overlooked. It is never easy to be let down. But perhaps it could come to matter less in determining our own actions and the person who we ourselves want to be.
Sometimes the sting of hurt inflicted by another is greater because we have placed them up too high. People are insufficient as foundations upon which to build happiness. They may be sources of happiness in our lives, and our relationships are certainly gifts for which to be grateful. But if they are the cornerstone of our identity, if we depend on them for joy to triumph over despair, then we are expecting too much. Not only are we setting ourselves up for disappointment, we are setting up our confidante for disappointment as well.
The truth is, we idealize and praise the ones we love too much, lifting them above where they belong. As a result, we criticize them more harshly when they fall. This cycle of extremes is one we then apply to ourselves. If our expectations and judgements are too great, we are likely to inflict severe self-judgement as well. We punish ourselves for failing to rise to unrealistic hopes; we repeat the lies that we are not enough because we are not good enough or kind enough or loving enough or enough of countless other things.
But we are none of us designed for these impossible standards. God has created each person for a unique purpose and He accompanies us on our journey so that He can pick us up when we inevitably fall. I don’t think there is anything ugly about falling.
In fact, I think there is something incredibly beautiful about falling and then accepting grace, embracing grace as we continue moving forward. I think there is so much beauty when we begin to learn to treat ourselves with love and care. As we start to see ourselves as God sees us, our eyes are opened to the beauty in those around us too. Although they will let us down at times, we can offer them forgiveness and treat them with the same love and care that has been given to us. And when we stop worrying so much about who hurt us and who we have hurt, and begin focusing on how we can bring healing, the world and all of its inhabitants will appear far more beautiful than before.