Unlovable Self – Revolworks

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©Brad at revolworks.com

  December 21, 2007

Give It a Break

Today it makes sense. I don’t know why it makes sense today, but it does. Here’s the thing: I always suspected that when someone got too close to me, he or she would be repelled, and I would suffer rejection. This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy . . . when my friends get a little too close, they’ll experience the one of my many imperfections that drives them crazy.


Then POOF. They’ll be gone.

It usually occurs this way in relationships. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we admit it. We know we are so genuinely imperfect that we find transparency and friendship to be mutually exclusive.

So we design schemes to obstruct the view; defense mechanisms to divert attention; and comparisons to improve our image. In the end, our methods fail. We’re left with our imperfect and unlovable self.

But today I noticed something. Two of the men that I admire most suffer the same fate. They performed on a grand stage as best friends, heartfelt companions. And famous. Recently I learned that they don’t talk anymore. It seems to others as if they really don’t like each other. How could this be?

I learned that another hero of mine slept around in the heyday of his ministry. Another’s leadership has left his family divided, angry, tramatized.

As I ponder the problem, something occurs to me. I’m not sure their imperfections were the problem. I blame expectations: my expectations of my heroes and their expectations of themselves.

When asked recently if he had more hope than 10 years ago or less, a friend of mine picked the latter. Surprised, we asked why. “Constant disappointment,” he replied, almost automatically.

Now that’s depressing.

But back to expectations. Despite our experience with disappointment, we continue to pack high expectations onto the backs of our fellow man. “He or she should do this.” “If I were him, I’d . . . .” (You fill in the blank.)

Did Jesus suffer these delusions? The scriptures tell us that Jesus knew what was in a man. So did he distrust them? Some, but usually not. He continued three in-depth years with his 12 disciples. Despite their constant confusion, unbelief and pettiness, he stayed with them – every one of them.

Indeed, on his last evening with them, he washed their feet. We have no evidence that he treated one differently from another. Yet Jesus knew that one was about to betray him and another was about to deny him three times.

Jesus had honestly low expectations and high tolerance. He possessed extraordinary powers of forgiveness. So in the end, they hung together.

As I ponder my new discovery, several practical action points rush to mind:

1.     Expect dysfunction, especially from people who preach high standards.

2.     Develop a healthy sense of humor about humanity.

3.     And give myself a break. Constantly.


Title: Unlovable Self
Author: Brad Olsen
Format: Blog Post
Published: 2nd January 2015
Publisher: Revolworks, revolworks.com
Access: Online Library of the National Student :Leadership Forum

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