PLAIN THOUGHTS: Trying to prove ourselves

Published 2:34 pm Monday, September 20, 2021

By Judith Hensley

Even the most mature of us can get caught up in trying to prove who we are to others. It seems like no matter how good we try to be, in someone’s eyes we are not quite good enough.

No matter how attractive we are, or even beautiful, there will always be someone more beautiful. There will always be someone looking for the flaw or the blemish in our appearance.

No matter how wealthy a person might be, there will always be another striving to overtake them. It has been my experience to observe the frailties of the wealthy who try to fill up their own sense of self worth with monetary assets. They may even use their wealth to try to do good, but somewhere along the way, they expect to be valued and respected because of their wealth (whether inherited or earned).

No matter how powerful an individual might become, there will always be someone hoping to overtake that power and replace the one at the top. All we have to do is turn on the news and watch daily reports of world leaders or military groups who are never completely satisfied with their conquests. Even when much is gained, they want more.

No matter how Holy a person might be, they are well aware of their own shortcomings. They know the secret sins that overtake them in private (whether it is bad attitude, bad language, anger, or some form of addiction). There are no perfect people, and there will always be those who look only for the flaws in order to remind them of their failures. Ultimately it is only God’s opinion of us and our opinion of ourselves that truly matters.

No matter how much a student studies, there will be those who are smarter and perhaps wiser. Knowledge in the world increases at an incredible rate. According to Lodestar Solutions, “In an  article written by David Schilling, human knowledge, on average, is doubling every 13 months.” He predicts, “We are quickly on our way, with the help of the Internet, to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.” No human being can keep up with that.

In various cultures around the world from ancient times until modern, young men are expected to pass standards set by the adults around them. Often these trials are known as “rights of passage.”  These ceremonial activities might require a boy to ill a lion with his bare hands; spend a night alone in a dangerous environment; or to complete a quest. By these, they prove that they’ve passed from boyhood  into manhood.

Girls don’t get off any easier. They have to measure up to standards of beauty, brains, physical strength, and the ability to juggle career and family.

If we only had to prove ourselves through one cycle and then put it all behind us, it wouldn’t be so bad. However, most of us spend our lives trying to prove ourselves time and time again. We must prove that we’re able to change, adapt, get knocked down and rise up each time.

We must learn to deal with difficult people and impossible situations. We must learn to survive in this world, no matter what hardships we meet.

We must keep learning as the years pass by. We must keep improving ourselves, redefining ourselves as we age, and our physical and mental abilities continue to change.

As human beings we all need food and shelter. We need work. We need to be loved. We need to be accepted by a social group of family and/or peers. We try to get that acceptance by proving ourselves by their standards.

How much better off would we be trying to prove who we are to ourselves and aligning that goal to becoming the man or woman God created us to be?