As I grow older I find I like myself less and less. There may be both good and bad elements in this feeling. I can use these feelings as a motivation to do something about the specific things I don’t like or I can become morose and mired in my faults because they take too much effort at this point to do anything about. However, the most comforting option is to take refuge in the idea that You love me for who and what I am and are willing to forgive my faults. Of course I like that last one the best; but if I love You as I’d like to think I do, I would do something other than be presumptuous.
I am not necessarily talking about sin or sinfulness here but rather the day-to-day habits and expectations that have, over time, taken root in an old man’s ways and become not only annoying to others but annoying to myself.
Yesterday I thought maybe You spoke to me about this through Thomas a Kempis who wrote: “Let not your peace depend on the tongues of men: for whenever they put a good or bad construction on what you do, you are still what you are.” That provided a little insight, especially into what I may say about myself; but I became even more certain this morning that You were talking to me when I read from Fenelon: “The pain you feel at your own imperfections is worse than the faults themselves....Learn to live with yourself as you actually are.”That’s good spiritual advice, but how does one learn it?
Previous introspections have yielded up the insight that in regards to the way I think, what I believe, and the ways I go about doing things, I may be in the habit of saying things to which others don’t want to listen, and, when I realize that, and still do it, I feel badly about myself. So it seems that learning to keep my mouth shut about things I’d like to share but others would not like to hear is a new habit I must cultivate. Maybe it will help me feel better about myself and render me less annoying to others. In any case, I’ve still got You to annoy.