Archive for July, 2011
Historically, apologizing has not come easily to me. I used to be very concerned with being right. More than that, I was completely wrapped up and entangled in the dangerous web of perfectionism. I really thought that if I failed to be right all the time and perfect all the time, the fragile walls of my world would come crashing down around me. I was convinced that if I wasn’t perfect, non one would love me. And if I ever admitted my imperfections and acknowledged that I made a mistake, then I wouldn’t even know myself. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
No one likes a “perfect” person. For one thing, there’s no such thing. So when I was trying to appear perfect, I just came off as unrelatable and inauthentic. I eventually came to realize that people in my life wanted me to let them in and see who I really was, imperfections and all. They had no interest in the illusion of perfection I was attempting to maintain, but me as a real person had a lot to offer.
I also learned that people actually appreciated me more when I admitted my human frailties. When I messed up and hurt someone I cared about, I learned to apologize. I realized that I could be “right” and push people away or I could apologize when I needed to and have closer relationships in my life. It is still something I struggle with, and the past few weeks I was put to the test.
About a week ago, I found out that I had done some things that had hurt some friends of mine. When I dug deep within myself I realized that I had certainly not acted as my best self. There were some things I needed to apologize for. I cried, I prayed, and I gave up being “right” and apologized.
It was like a breath of fresh air. A weight off my chest. There’s a subtle personal power in admitting that you are wrong and taking responsibility for who and how you are being in life. But the greatest reward is the relationships that grow from my willingness to humble myself and apologize. And I am thankful for friends that care about me enough to let me know when I’ve hurt them, so that I can make amends and grow from the experience.
God gave us weaknesses so that we might be humble and so that our weaknesses might be made into strengths. I know this is true, and for that I am grateful.
When I was a young girl, it was easy to be proud to be American. Every day at elementary school, I’d place my right hand over my heart and pledge my allegiance to a flag that represented a country in which I had unwavering faith was the best country in the world. I remember I had a vinyl record of Disney characters singing Americana songs. I’d put it on and march around the den singing “God Bless America” at the top of my lungs with Mickey and Donald Duck and just feel my chest swell with patriotism. But now I’m not sure if I’m just older and wiser or if times have really changed, but I feel like I just have to turn on the news to see this country’s latest scandal, and it’s no longer so easy to feel proud to be American.
It’s easy and almost trendy to become jaded in this day and age. Amidst the scandals, wars, and encroachments on civil liberties, it’s simple to forget that the things that made me proud to be an American as a small child still ring true today. So in honor of this Fourth of July weekend, I thought I’d share four reasons I’m proud to be American.
- Peaceful changes of power happen all the time. It’s not something to take for granted that in America we have elections and change leaders on a regular basis without any violence occurring.
- We have freedom to be and express who we are. According to the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I am so grateful to live in a country where I am free to express my opinions, thoughts, and ideas without fear. I am even more grateful that I am free to practice my religion openly.
- We are a melting pot of cultures and beliefs. Along the lines of freedom of expression and religion, America is made up of all different types of people who often make unlikely neighbors. Yet we live at peace with one another. There are many places in the world where that just doesn’t happen.
- American spirit and ingenuity gets it done. Over the history of America, there have been many seemingly impossible tasks that this country’s people have faced and they have risen to the occasion. Whether it was the New Deal or it the first trip to the moon or coming together as a country after 9/11 the spirit of the American people is what makes this country great.
As I write this, I can hear the sound of fireworks from the next town over (they do their fireworks on the 3rd of July), and it’s a reminder of the lives that were given up to create this country. I know this country is far from perfect, but I’m thankful that I have the privilege of being American. And as long as there are people striving to uphold the principals this country was founded on I’ll still pledge my allegiance to one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.