There are things I absolutely hate about myself, aspects of my personality I despise and long to change, inherited tendencies I wish I could kill and bury. While it is possible that focusing too much on my list of faults could lead to poor self-esteem and a life of guilt and shame I am convinced that failing to address these traits would have a worse result. I would be a very bad man. I need to be better.
Among the things I wish I could change-
- I am not a good listener. Wait, that is too kind. I am a terrible listener. My racing brain causes me to think of responses before some is halfway through a second sentence.
- I inherited my father’s temper. I have a tendency to lash out and be unkind. I need to slow down more and think of the feelings of others.
- I am inpatient and intolerant of the faults of others. It is too easy for me to point fingers and criticize. I need more grace.
- I am a worrier, my anxiety can cause me to be fearful about things that may never happen and seldom do.
- I have an unhealthy need for affirmation, I can work too hard trying to please others.
There is not room in a blog post for the complete list, so I will stop here. Needless to say, I have a LOT of things I am working on. But to me, that is the point. I am working on the list. I am not content with the person I am, not satisfied with where I am in my personal life. I need to be better.
This desire to be better is not limited to external actions. I need to think better thoughts as well. In the dark reaches of my brain lurk some pretty terrible things, things which if allowed to take hold and grow would result in terrible deeds. I realize what the Apostle Paul meant when he spoke of “taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” I have thoughts that need to be put in jail, rehabilitated when possible and executed when not!
I am not alone in my struggles against and within myself. The need to struggle against the evil within is a universal one. Those who excuse their bad thoughts and behaviors, those who justify their actions instead of working to be better, will ultimately be exposed to the world as the wretches they are.
We are seeing this now on a daily basis. Each morning we wake to new reports of the terrible behavior of some celebrity or person in power. From Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey to Mark Halperin there appears to be an unending stream of immoral behavior flowing from the hearts of powerful men. The natural question arises, “How could they do such terrible things?” As I hear these stories I find myself replying, “This is what happens when you don’t hate the evil inside.”
This is what happens when you make excuses for your perversity, when you consider yourself more important than others, so special and important that your desires deserve to be met. This is what happens when being a good person, being a better, kinder person, does not matter enough. The process is always the same. First we tolerate the evil desire, then we excuse the evil behavior.
If we want to be better people we need to change our priorities as a society. We need to lessen our emphasis on self-esteem and feeling good about ourselves and encourage more balanced self-assessment. When it comes to the evil in our hearts and minds, the world can use some more hate.
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