I Am Not a Goddess, a Queen, or "Slaying"
Updated: Apr 14, 2019
Hello Dear Reader!
Thanks for tuning in for the 4th installment in our Sunday Series, Whole-Hearted. We've covered Perfectionism, Rejection, and Fear so far, and we are going to keep chugging along! It's been amazing to recieve your emails and messages, telling me that you're relating with these areas that I've struggled with. I don't feel as alone!
All of the topics I choose are picked to help us learn how to live more whole-heartedly, and today's is no different. Today I want to talk about the importance of self-improvement.
Let's dive in.
Slay Girl Slay! You are INCREDIBLE!
Have you ever been told "girl you are PERFECT just the way you are!" or "self-esteem and self-care are SOOO important, prioritize YOURSELF girl! You are a QUEEN!" We see memes reminding us that we are Goddesses, queens, and that we must take time every day to step back and revel in our own awesome woman power.
So off I go, lighting candles, soaking in my bubble bath with a glass of wine, telling myself, "Caitlin, you are perfect. You are a total badass. A Queen! Don't every change." This message is supposed to help me achieve 100% confidence right? Reminding myself that I am a goddess and that my uterus is incredible is going to make me feel like an empowered woman right?
Well.... Probably not.
Our culture is constantly tripping over itself to remind us how gifted, talented, and special we all are, but yet SO many women still struggle with insecurity in an incredibly profound way. A report came from the Huffington Post that stated 4 in 5 women struggle with Self-Esteem. Huh?
Why do these "inspiring" messages not seem to stick? Why is reminding ourselves that we are amazing not the answer to our insecurities?
Well, it's because telling myself that I am a "total GODDESS" isn't speaking the truth!
I'm NOT perfect just the way I am. I am NOT a goddess, and I am NOT a queen. Prioritizing myself is NOT the most important thing in the world, and self-care is NOT the answer to everything! I KNOW that I have flaws: I pretty much suck sometimes!
Ignoring the truth that is my SINFUL HUMANITY isn't going to help me feel "empowered." Our insecurities and self-hatred aren't going to be washed away by a heavy diet of "slay girl slay."
Women, we are not queens: we are HUMAN. Running around saying that everyone is perfect isn't helping anyone: it's preventing us from accepting that we're not perfect and we don't have to be!
So I'm Not a Queen: Does That Mean I Suck?
Does removing yourself from the "goddess" mentality automatically mean that you must dive into self-deprecation, self-hatred, and loathing?
But taking an ACCURATE look at who you are, how you relate to others, and what you could improve on will help you lead a better life.
You will actually be able to "accept" yourself much easier if you take note of the areas that need "construction." Accepting yourself is seeing yourself for who you are: warts and all! (seriously I had a bad case of warts on my feet in high school NOT CUTE.)
Looking at ourselves through a lens of REALITY is liberating! We already know that we are sinful. Telling myself that I'm perfect isn't going to cover up this fact!
It's healthy to have a strong understanding that we're NOT perfect angels. It is beyond healthy, crucial even, for us to sit back and openly observe our flaws.
Sweet sappy words of self-acceptance are just bandages: they will never help you truly accept yourself and find happiness. Sitting back on our laurels and demanding everyone says we're amazing will only make us feel good momentarily, but a lifetime spent in the pursuit of personal growth will yield greater happiness than you could ever predict.
In order to achieve more fulfillment in life, we need to pursue self-improvement and sanctification through Christ. This is not a selfish undertaking: when we improve to be kinder, more patient, gentler, and more peaceful people, EVERYONE benefits! Especially you!
How Am I Working to Change?
I want to really hit this point home, so I'm going to tell you something about me: I have always been EXTREMELY defensive and offended whenever I have faced criticism. As a young child, I could barely even handle it when my mom would fix my essays for grammar and spelling! But you already know that I'm a self-proclaimed perfectionism addict, so I doubt you're surprised by this dramatic "revelation" LOL!
When we first got married, my husband could bring up something as tiny as me forgetting to turn the kitchen light off at night, and I would ACTUALLY feel personally attacked. He never even approached me in a rude or condescending way, as I know a lot of people DO approach their spouses. No, he gently told me these things, and I was STILL hurt.
I soon realized that my method of relating to him was NOT good for our marriage. I decided to change and pursue gentleness, patience, and compassion whenever I faced criticism. (LOL NOT EASY!)
Well, just this past week, when Grant told me that I was ruining our cast-iron pan by cleaning it with steel wool (I know, I'm a total cavewoman LOL,) I calmly responded "okay! I'm sorry, thanks for pointing that out!" I didn't feel attacked, I didn't feel victimized, and I didn't even feel like I needed to berate myself for making a mistake! PROGRESS!
And he actually noticed this change! He said, "hey I've noticed you've really improved in the way you handle it when I point out mistakes, and it makes it a lot easier to talk to you about things. I appreciate it."
Guys, that felt SO good! I WANTED to improve. I WANTED to be easier to live with, and most importantly, I WANTED my husband to feel comfortable when he needed to tell me I was doing something wrong! Can you imagine being married to someone who is offended at every small turn? Not fun. But I'm improving, so thank God!
But guys I've got A LOT of areas I'm working on: here are some more!
1. Self-control in the face of frustrating situations
2. Being envious of people who are prettier or wealthier than me
3. General laziness
4. Desiring attention and love from everyone I meet
5. Pursuing shallow goals above heavenly goals
Okay Cool, Self-Improvement is Good, But is Self-Care Still Important?
Absolutely! I do self-care activities ALL the time. God told us in the Bible to take every seventh day as a sabbath and rest: REST IS A GOOD THING! But caring for ourselves is more than bubble baths. Self-care encompasses actively trying to improve ourselves!
Hear me out:
When I approach caring for my dog, I play with her, walk her, feed her, and tend to her needs. We do a lot of cuddly fun things like fetch, belly rubs, and walks. But caring for her also includes clipping her nails, feeding her medication, and showering her (which is her biggest fear LOL.) Not all of these "care" activities are always fun for her; with every cute moment there are also moments of growth and discipline.
Likewise, I believe that caring for ourselves should include fun cuddly moments like wine and baths, but also times of growth and discipline.
So yes, please make coffee, take a bubble bath, sip some wine, or call a friend. BUT, try to take time to journal, reflect on how you treat others, and read your Bible. Ask your spouse what areas you could improve in. Ask your mentor what things you could work on in your life! Actively find ways you can improve.
I know that this sounds intimidating, but remember that it is for YOUR good in the end. Seeking out areas to improve and grow is caring for yourself.
Final Challenge for You:
So today I want to encourage you all: sit down and write down some areas in your life that you want to improve or you know you need to improve. Maybe you need to take better care of your health, your diet, or your relationships. Maybe you're like me and you get offended easily by criticism, or maybe you hurt people with your words.
Whatever it is, I encourage you to not be afraid of recognizing your flaws. Recognizing our flaws is part of self-acceptance. We're not queens, but we can still try to be.