Standards set as a child by parents can carry into adulthood. If you were scolded because you didn’t make good enough grades or were always getting in trouble for something, you feel one of two things. You may feel like you don’t measure up to anyone’s standards and/or you may feel like you don’t even meet up to your own standards. Sometimes the expectations others put on us, whether parents, teachers, or friends, cause us to feel like we have to be perfect or as close to perfect as we can possibly get.
I know as a young adult I would compare myself to other families. Families I knew who sat down at dinner every night, prayed together, and shared their stories from the day. I found myself comparing my family to families on TV shows or movies. These are just a couple. However, when you compare yourself to others, you cause yourself to feel unnecessary guilt. There is only one person we are to compare our lives to and that is Jesus Christ. Later on in life, I learned that as a family it was okay to be the kind of family we were and “I” did not have to feel guilty for not obtaining those things I was comparing myself to. There was nothing wrong with our family if we didn’t sit down to dinner every night. Things worked out and life was fine.
Last but definitely not least, I put goals and expectations on myself and when I don’t complete them I would put myself down and be really disappointed. It could be anything from not completing a project to not learning as fast as others. Often times I find myself saying, “See you never finish anything, what a loser”. When really what is the big deal if I don’t finish something. Maybe I’ll come back later and finish it or maybe that wasn’t the right timing for something.
Besides God does not expect perfection, and I am glad about that. Plus, God forgives us. He knows our hearts and our intensions. If he can forgive anyone and everyone who asks, surely I can forgive myself. Satan wants us to feel bad about not being perfect, not God.
Try writing a forgiveness letter. It is actually very cathartic. I literally wrote, “I forgive you for _________”. When writing things down, we can see what is in our head and we remember it more. I actually felt better. It feels freeing and it helps stress go away. It’s not even a bad idea to do this as often as you need to.
Forgive yourself. God forgives you so why won’t you!