You know, after reading what I wrote yesterday, I started thinking about things, and the way I used to be.
About twelve years ago, I couldn't look myself in the eye when I looked in the mirror without seeing someone I didn't like, and who was not a great person. I didn't hate myself, nor did I even like myself...and that was the worst feeling in the world to me. It explained why I never had a good day, why I never had any energy to do anything but mope around the house or watch television. It also explained why I never had any drive to be anything other than the slob that I had become.
Well one day, I finally looked at myself and took a very unflattering look at myself, and I knew in that day, it was time to change the outside AND the inside. I couldn't live with that person anymore. I knew it was time to change for the better.
I sat down, and wrote everything that I wanted to change about myself in my journal (I was a pen and paper kinda gal then, no blogging just yet). The list was surprisingly small, considering that there were a dozen little things that could be worked into one or the other of the places I wanted to fix.....
1) I wanted to work on the physical aspect of myself. I had yucky hair, my skin was blotchy, and sooner or later I would be dealing with wrinkles, I didn't want to continue to fight acne too...so, I found a solution. I went to different beauty counters in the mall, asking questions, getting answer until I came upon the beauty regiment that I did. started to use the products religiously....even found regiments for feet and nails. I enjoyed that personal "me time"...my daily routine at night and in the morning became essential to making the outer me feel more confident. Even my showering and hair washing had a regiment to it.
I had also gotten my teeth worked on, and I found a great eye doctor at the time. I did more than just brush and floss when it came to my teeth, I whitened, used plaque and tartar removers, I had become obsessed with my teeth at the time.
I actually started eating three meals a day, taking vitamins and drinking more water, milk and juices, which worked well to make it easier for the other parts of my personal changes:
2) I wanted to change my attitude. I hate the negative aspect of myself. So, everyday, I would find something beautiful about the day.
I started looking at people more closely, I thought that if I could find something good or nice about them-even a stranger-and complimented them on it, it would boost up my spirits, and give two people a good moment. This worked, and I continue on with this today...I can find things about everyone that I can compliment.
My attitude changed a lot because I started seeing the positive things in life. I stopped looking for the worst to happen, and found the good even in bad.
3) I hated the fact that I was not as educated as I should be. I spoke in ignorance and un-ladylike ways, and I knew that this wouldn't do. I wanted to be treated like I was a person of respect and dignity.
So, I started replacing profane words with silly ones, then I started reading the dictionary when I didn't have a better word. Sometimes, I would go through the dictionary and find new words just to have in my lexicon in the future...I didn't want to sound smarter or arrogant to others, I just wanted to be well informed and confident in my speech. If I was going to look more like I was smart, at least I should make myself even more so.
I started reading, and re-reading the classics. I would find new things to learn on the internet, and I would find non-romance authors to read along with my favorite genre. I wanted to have a variety in my life. I wanted to say that when I get bored, I usually go find something new to learn. I tried Gaelic, because I started reading Diana Gabaldon, and I found her to be a great inspiration for how I wanted to sound, and how I wanted to be portrayed to the world in general. I believe that I tried to emulate her for a long time....so I thank her and count her as one of my heroes it wasn't just her writing that inspired me, but herself in general that continued to inspire me to be a smarter and colorfully intelligent human being.
4) This one was the hardest, and by far the one that I am still working on, in a sense....I wanted to have a spiritual base in my life. I believed, and I loved Father, but I didn't know how to go about this one.
I once read a self help book that spoke of the 8 elemental keys that make you a person you want to be, and the author suggested reading The Gospels, The Psalms (yes, this isn't the first time I have read the entire Book), and the Book of Wisdom. By the time I finished I was not only in tears, but I was on a path that I needed to be on, and one that clearly confused me....where was I supposed to fit in, what House of God, or Family of God was I to belong in??
The answer to this is very simple and complicated, and is the most time consuming and frustrating of all, given the fact that I was going to use my intelligence level to get me through life from now on....in this book I read, the author says that in order to find your way in a church, you must visit different ones, go for about 6 months, get a feel for the congregation and the pastor, ask questions, and don't be afraid that you won't be accepted.
I did this, but as I went, I would question, and get no answers, or they weren't even worried about Sculptural accuracy. I would hear the mutilation of the Gospels, and when I would read them myself, the Bible version didn't matter, really, it was always used out of context....so, I would move on, and on, until I just gave that one to Father.
While I was doing this, I would continue to read His Word, ask questions of Him, and pray, and give thanks. At times, I would fall by the wayside, but I would continue on to the best of my ability.
I would take time in the morning at breakfast, or outside with my first cup of coffee and pray and read a book on whatever Christian aspect interested me that week....even books of meditation were a part of that great journey. I would read Scripture in the mornings as well. I was beginning to know the Word, but not fully understand it.
It took me until 2004 at the end of Lent and the week before the Easter Vigil to come to the Catholic Faith. It was there that I found His Family, and my Home with Father. That journey is one that I already promised you I would tell, but I will do that in a later post. I became a full Catholic on 24 March 2005 at the Easter Vigil, and it was the most marvelous thing I have ever done...I am complete in my Faith, but not complete in myself for the moment because I have fallen by the wayside.
The spiritual journey is the hardest of all of my self improvements. It is proving to be one of the most rewarding and educational adventures I am on. I find that Father wants me to know things because there is a purpose for me recent weeks.
So, now, as I have things on all sides battering down on me, I am thinking of that commitment that I made to myself....the one to love myself, I am going to renew this program....I let all of these things fall to the wayside, and now I feel myself slipping back into that hateful place. It's just a matter of creating a routine for myself....
And pray, lean on Christ, and tell myself this: I AM LOVING AND CAPABLE OF LOVING OTHERS!!!
It's not always easy, sometimes I see someone I don't like even now, but I strive to overcome this feeling in knowing that Christ thinks I am worth loving!