Dumping the dross

English: "Ostara" (1901) by Johannes...

As a recovering Catholic, I still find myself thinking about what I should give up during the seven weeks before Easter. It’s like a reflex that is so deeply ingrained that it’s hard to ignore. I remember giving up sweets as a child, then gravitating toward less-obvious self-destructive behaviors as an adults. This year, I’m changing the tenor of seeking something to “give up”; instead, I’m reflecting on what I have outgrown and doesn’t need to be part of my life anymore. It’s kind of life the beloved pedal car that my darling brother-in-law gave my children and that they outgrew somewhere over the winter months. It now has a new home with one of my children’s friend and the girls now concentrate on more size-appropriate pastimes.

In my self-inventory, I realized that I still had some lingering self-esteem issues.  They aren’t commonly seen, but linger like that ugly sweater from Aunt Beulah that you keep because you think you are supposed to do so. Many years ago, I had self-esteem that was firmly set near zero and that manifested in many ways that I don’t need to consciously revisit now. Suffice it to say that I under-lived my potential for a long time.

As I look at my life today, I see a completely different woman than I was then. I have achieved much, traveled far, and loved deeply. There are areas where I am working to improve, but that’s a part of my growth– much like this blog. I have made peace with and forgiven the young, frightened woman who settled for less than she was worth. She was human then as I am human now. But with 44 years of living under my belt, I see things in a different perspective.

For this Lenten season, I am divesting myself of the last dregs of low self-esteem. I am worthy of the new things that are blossoming in my life and deserve all the wonderful people and accomplishments that have become permanent parts of me. I am beautiful, talented, and successful. My current path is correct for me and my loved ones. Everything I do shows my love for myself and my family.

You know what? I don’t think that shedding destructive or outgrown behaviors needs to be restricted to certain times on the calendar. Anytime that you find some unnecessary old habit in your “closet,” why not remove it? You don’t have to give it to charity either– just get rid of the darn thing. Let the new you have room to breathe and grow.

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