Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Are you a potato or a peach?

From one of the books I'm reading for Katrina's Spring Reading Thing...

From Healing Damaged Emotions by David A. Seamands, the chapter on healing one's low self-esteem, which has struck me like a two by four to the head:

"If this kind of low self-esteem has been programmed into a person, it is difficult, and in some cases impossible, for that person to feel beloved of God, accepted by Him, and of worth to Him in His kingdom and service. A great many seemingly spiritual struggles are not spiritual at all in their origin...

"That was the case with Shirley...

"Shirley had been given many good things by her parents in their rural home - security, hard work, discipline, strong Christian commitment, and high standard of morality....but gradually Shirley and I (her pastor/counselor) began to see that though her parents had done their best, they'd gone at it the wrong way, by giving compliments that made comparisons or set conditions.

"You're so nice when...I hope you'll never be like that girl down the road...that's fine but...we love you when...if...but...

"You know how some girls during adolescence go through an "ugly duckling" stage. Shirley was one of these, and her dad tried to help her accept herself. He really did love her, but again and again he said to her, "You know, you just can't make a peach out of a potato." While he thought he was helping her, he was really scarring and cutting at the very heart of her self-esteem. She grew up with a potato self (concept), thinking of herself as misshapen, ugly, as something that grew under the ground."

After much counseling, Shirley began to realize how that self image affected everything in her life. Her relationships with those closest around her were seen through "potato glasses." And, of course, how could she believe God loved her if He had made her a potato?

Dr. Seamands describes how he went out of his way to "reprogram" her self-image. He called her "God's peach" or "my peach." And, when she truly discovered and truly believed she was a daughter of God, she let His love and grace pour in and wash away all those potato feelings and potato images.

He goes on to describe that the change in Shirley was one of the most remarkable he's ever seen...her actual appearance changed, she began caring more for herself, became more attractive to be around, and began to relate better to people.

My name is Beth and I am a potato.

I've never sought out to learn appropriate boundaries and limits in my life and have come to see myself the way it seemed everyone else did. My self-concept has been garnered from others. In addition, I never learned to internalize my inherent value so, as a result, I stuffed down my feelings and needs to be "the good girl" or maybe more appropriately "the compliant girl." I never really knew what *I* wanted and was just going through the motions of what I thought I was supposed to be doing.

As I look back, it has affected every. single. relationship I've had and am having. It wasn't until recently that I realized that I could be angry, state my opinion, whatever without the fear of someone being so mad they'd leave me...or if they DID leave that I'd still be OK.

This not only affected my relationship with others but I'm now convinced that it is a very big part of my continued failure to lose weight and keep it off. I eat when stressed, I eat when sad, I eat when angry, I eat whenever my emotions threaten to "lose control." I have the discipline to do it for a while but eventually I lose resolve, something comes up that's more important than me working out, me being able to buy healthier food, me being accountable to a weight loss group.

I've had some of those close to me say that they love me more than anything, that I'm beautiful in their eyes no matter what but I've always discounted their words because it doesn't match what I see from inside.

So, what does that say about my relationship with God? I am to be precious, loved, honored, treasured, adored, rescued, and saved. Sadly, I rarely feel that way.

As I enter my 40's with my eyes searching, my ears listening, my mind growing, and my heart battered but ready, can I hear the "inner peach" that God intended for me to be?

So, what are you? Someone's potato or God's peach?

1 comment:

GiBee said...

Well, despite my father's own blunders ("You're beautiful, but if you'd only loose 20 pounds")... I still feel a peach. I think God gave me an amazing resiliency to forgive and totally forget hurtful things. It's like he eliminates it from my brain. And while I remember some things (like the statement above about losing 20 pounds), they no longer bother me like they used to.

Now... if I could only loose 20 pounds.


More like 200 pounds.