I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.                                                                                                  (Excerpted from II Corinthians 12:9-10 (The Message) 

There was an on-going bit on Saturday Night Live years ago with a character named Stuart Smalley, played by Al Franken. In the bit, Stuart Smalley, a kind of pitiful character, would give himself affirmations like, I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like me!

This bit took a little swipe at pop psychology, which talks about trying to affirm oneself in the midst of a world that often does not easily give such assurances. While this can be a cheesy process, there is, somewhere in it, some truth about human nature. Many of my clients are not able to take an honest look at themselves, and make some realistic, somewhat objective assessments about how they are doing in the world.  Often, I find that my clients tend to put undue blame on themselves, and are unable to have a good “calibration” of their strengths and weaknesses, their triumphs and failures.

At the end of the day, I find it helpful, indeed important, to make a little assessment of the day. Things like, “I met most of my goals today”; “I kept those promises to myself about daily disciplines”; “I was probably a bit harsh with that person today”’ “I could have been kinder to that person at the store” etc.

We cannot be totally objective since the process of self-examination is, by definition, subjective. Yet, we can learn, if we have the courage and honesty to do so, to develop a self-examination process that is more or less even-handed.

The point here is that we often are overly harsh with ourselves for fear that if we “let up” we may lose control. Let me say here, that perhaps we need to learn to give ourselves just a little measure of the grace that God gives us. It really helps our mental and emotional, not to mention, spiritual health.

Prayer: Thank you Father for the grace that you give to us that we sometimes fail to afford ourselves, Amen.

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