Saturday, July 7, 2012

Being Human

"It is what it is."

I've taken to saying that lately.  It covers a whole host of situations and it's my way to remind myself that there are some things that just are, and there's nothing I can do to change them, much as I might want to.  I usually say it about circumstances I can't change.  I'm getting better at accepting those things, thanks in part to that little saying.

But I'm starting to learn that it goes deeper than that. "It is what it is" also applies to character traits or behaviors in people that might be difficult to swallow.  And it also applies to feelings.  All feelings: mine, yours, theirs. "Good" and "bad" feelings.  (See my post, "Emotions. Are. Bad.") 

It's all part of being human.  I think that a large part of a dysfunctional lifestyle is living in denial of the fact that we are human: we have made mistakes, we are making mistakes, and we will continue to make mistakes. We need to give ourselves permission to be wrong, and not beat ourselves up for it.  Admit it, yes, honestly, ... but not continue to punish ourselves for messing up, and give ourselves the freedom to err.

I know I need to. 

Too long I have spent time wasted in sitting around "being right" when it would have been more appropriate to "be human" - even if it meant being wrong.  (Most often, it means exactly that!)  

I've often been heard to say that I prefer writing to talking because with writing, there's always the backspace key.  But that whole mentality (in my own psyche) comes from a fear of getting it wrong.  

So I didn't try.  I withdrew; that way I COULDN'T get it wrong.  Slowly, I'm learning to try.  Try, and IF there's an error, deal with that honestly and openly.  Try to do better.  But don't disengage from living life.  One thing about being human is that we can learn from mistakes.  We don't have to keep repeating the same error over and over again; we can rise above it if we are Honest, Open, and Willing (that's HOW to live) to keep trying.  Life is messy. To paraphrase one of my favorite novelists (James Herriot), life hands us unending opportunities every day to make chumps of ourselves.  

But it doesn't mean we stop trying.  We embrace our humanity when we go ahead and attempt to do good, even if we are scared, even if we get it wrong, even if we have tried before and failed.  Even if we have to let go of the way we've always done something. Or set some boundaries - for ourselves and/or others - which we've never set before.  Sometimes, by making mistakes and admitting them, we can give others the permission they need to try - even if THEY don't do whatever it is perfectly.  There is no telling how greatly the world could be impacted by someone - and we never know who it might be - risking making a mistake by taking that leap of faith into action.  

If we are honest, open, and willing, God will let us know (in no uncertain terms!) if we've erred.  But "He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust." (Psalm 103:14, NASB)

We trust God, and then we 'do the next right thing.'  It sounds so simple, but in practice it requires a great deal of effort, especially at first, because part of learning to be human (not superhuman, not divine, not perfect) is realizing how frequently we try to be those impossible things, and letting go of that obsession with being correct - in every action, every thought, every decision. 

That takes practice - and time.  In some cases, it takes a lifetime.  Certain things are easier than others.  But we celebrate the successes and we are grateful for those, while we continue to trust God and do the next right thing in all areas, even if we happen to do it the wrong way and have to learn from it.  It's all part of being human.  

It's who we are.

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