I know it may sound strange and arrogant. That I should write of a few things that I like about “me.” But, in truth, it isn’t. This has been a difficult exercise for me. It’s easy to point out the strengths, talents, and gifts that other people have. I’ve gone through the learning curve [hallelujah] of comparing myself to anybody else. Been there, done the homework, got the T-shirt.
So, I’ve learned to compare myself with myself. And with no one else. As in – How am I doing today versus last week, last month, or last year?
But to sit down and focus in on a few things I like about myself? Even at my age, this was an interesting endeavor. I have tried to use the guidelines of two thought processes:
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” [Alan Alda]
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” [Luke 9:24]
The first is not nearly as important as the second, but they are both crucial to understanding ourselves. When we better understand ourselves, it is because we’ve done the work of excavating, or digging through, and of revealing the core of “Who we are” and “Who we want to be.” It’s scary territory for most of us. This building of a Better Me is hard work, and can be wearying, at times.
Identifying our strengths, we also identify our weaknesses, and how to better lean on the Savior to gain strength in our weak spots. The key is to own our flaws, accept responsibility for them, and then gratefully offer them up to the Lord. He can pull them out of us! And we continue to move forward, gaining faith and strength as well as gratitude for having our limitations swallowed up in Christ. The “me” we discover is a much more polished and prepared one. And we become better fit to engage in better losing ourselves in service to other people.
Service is a way to better ourselves as we make things better for someone else. Sister Teresa’s words resound in us, I think, as we look outward to see how we can help the world in our unique [and important] ways. Here are the words: “I am a little pencil in the hand of God who is sending a love letter to the world.”
This finding/losing/finding concept is interesting. But I have digressed. Here are a few of the things I like about me:
- I like to smile. As much and as often as possible. Smiling is good. According to Buddy the Elf, it’s his favorite. J A smile is a tiny way of saying, “I believe in goodness” and “Even in tough times, there are sweet things worth grinning about.” Surely, our Father in Heaven smiles when we look upward and smile.
- I keep on trying. I’ve always remembered a quote I heard years ago, “There is merit in the attempt, and a whole lot accomplished along the way.” I believe this is true. There are many things I’ve tried that fell far short of my goal. But I’m like a bulldog. I keep coming back again, doggedly [pun intended] working at this or that, not giving up or givingI like that I’ve gained that trait. It works well in the Lord’s Kingdom, where we’re all doing what we can, how we can, to make the world a better place as we prepare for a far Better Place.
- I’m a well-disciplined person. This is, for some reason, more difficult to write. Fact is, though, the years of pushing through and developing skills – and trusting in the Lord – have granted me the peace of self discipline in a whole newLife is easier and more enjoyable when we commit wholly to disciplining ourselves in every way. Well, I’m still resistant to daily exercise, but I’ll get there.
President Thomas S. Monson has counseled us in this way, “The battle for self-discipline may leave you a bit bruised and battered, but always a better person. Eternal life in the kingdom of our Father is your goal, and self-discipline will surely be required if you are to achieve it.” [“Pathways to Perfection,” Ensign, May 2002, 100-101.]
4. I’m a good wife and a goodI’m not perfect – duh. But I know I do my best. My husband and I have a wonderful relationship and cherish each other. I cherish my children, and have really good ones. My role as woman and mother is clear and it is central to who I am. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most. I’m grateful to know it. It makes me smile. [Back to #1.]
5. I have a true and solid testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, I’ve done it. Phew. I’ve written down – publicly, even – some things I like about me. I’ve done it as an exercise in becoming a better person. I’ve done it to strengthen my resolve to continue to improve every day. To recognize the good – including that which is in myself – so that each day is a good one. Not, perhaps, an easy one. But a good one. By so doing, I make the world a better place.
The earlier we start this process, the better. Anne Frank, a young lady wise beyond her years, wrote: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” We start with “me.” “I, myself, and I.” Identifying our strengths as we work on our weaknesses, we need not wait a single moment before making our world a better place. And better loving ourselves as we find and celebrate the things we like about ourselves.
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager. She has worked for many years to share her testimony of Jesus Christ with other folks. Her propensity for being the queen of embarrassing moments notwithstanding, she sums up her journey thus far like this: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She has taught Church youth & family programs for 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Her latest venture is to create a website to focus on & grow the goodness in this world. Please visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com