Monday, January 19, 2015

What Happened to Me

 This was in response to a writing prompt for my communications class on self-concept. It was a very interesting topic to write about and I think that it is important for us to recognize where we got certain ideas about ourselves.

            I am so grateful for the family that I was raised in, because many and most of my influences were very positive. Besides sibling teasing, I believe all I got until school was positive feedback from my family as to who I am. My dad always told me that I was “the best”. I don’t know what phrases or nicknames stick out to my siblings, but that was who I was and it really helped me to become who I am. It does not define anything specific about me, but it was always in my mind that I am the best. I don’t think that ever gave me a distorted view of myself or made me believe that I was better than anybody. I fully believed and do believe now that anyone and everyone can be the best.
            I have created my own understanding of that title. I am the best Micah. I am the best of myself there is. It relates to the article titled “No One Can Take Your Place”. I have things to offer people at different times in their life that no one else can. The places that I go and the things that I am impressed to do are things that only I can do for myself and for others.
            I believe that I had a very sturdy foundation of positive self-concept, but that in no way means that I was or am immune from experiences with others or social-comparison that is so destructive. I started to have acne at the young age of nine. That age is probably the earliest I can recall of feelings of not good enough or comparing myself to others in a less than positive manner. Early, yes I wanted to wear overalls because my friends did, but all of those comparisons from what I can remember were positive and fun. In third grade my teacher called my mom and told her that she thought I had chicken pox and that I should go home. I knew they weren’t chicken pox. It was acne.
            There are moments that we remember; we engrave into our minds and they define many of our personal thoughts. Around that same age riding the bus home from school one of my friends called me zit face and teased me at any chance about my skin. Thus ever since I have been extremely self-conscious about my face and what I look like. I didn’t start wearing cover up in fourth grade because I thought I was pretty or that it was cool. I did it because I wanted less people to recognize my problem.
            Through the years of my life I have acquired a thick skin on that issue and probably other things that I perceive about myself and maybe I have gained more confidence. In high school as I babysat a lot I had to be more confident in myself as there was not one family that I cared for that did not have a child ask me what that was on my face or what all of my scars were from or why I had an owie on my face.
            As I made a list of my characteristics, I was trying to be as positive as I could. We all know that we are better than what we tell ourselves regularly. I know that I am relatively skinny, that I am quite healthy, smart, etc. We all wish that we could be more or something different than what we are. I have always been very aware of my weight and if I looked skinny enough. I really don’t care about the number on the scale, but if I think that I look thick, then I need to do something about it.
            So, why do I believe these things about myself? I think I am like everyone else. It is hard to know where we are and how well we are doing when we do not get significant praise. I have thought of this before, but I think one of the issues is that when we are young we are praised for everything. We get a lot of self-confidence boosts. We are encouraged to do better and to be better and are told how wonderful we are. This fades as we become older and accomplished. We become who we are and we are known among people. We have lost our “gauge”. I think a lot of what this topic says is that we need to get away from gauging and from getting insight from others, but I think that there is nothing wrong with some of that. Maybe too often we get recognition for our failings instead of our triumphs.
            We need to let go of the ideas that ourselves and others have created for us and just be. Be who you have always wanted to be and do it because it makes you happy. I have found that we are meant to struggle. We should be able to come out of our struggles with something new, with confidence and stamina for more. In one of my ‘quests’ during my teenage years to ‘look thinner’ I found something in myself and about myself that really gave me the ability to understand myself in God’s eyes. I started to hike often and found that this is where I could clear my head of all of my social comparisons and all of the ideas that others had given me about myself and where I could remember who really knows me and remember and learn what and who I am.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I had to write a paper for one of my classes this semester that asked me what I want to learn from The Family: A Proclamation to the World, along with some of my current understanding and feelings from it.

What I Intend to Learn
            As I began to read The Family: A Proclamation to the World again, a word that stuck out to me within the first two paragraphs was destiny. I have always thought in a way that we don’t really believe in destiny in the same way it is explained by the world. I think this is true, because although the Lord’s side will win over Satan’s fight, we still have agency. We are not going to obtain salvation and the celestial kingdom just because the Lord wants us to. As is said in the proclamation, “…family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children” (Family).  We cannot achieve our destiny without family. This is something that I really want to learn more about this semester, because I want to be able to share with others this very important concept. People believe that to become our best selves, we cannot have the distraction or set back of family. This is such a worldly perspective.
            I believe all of the principles in this proclamation lead back to our destiny, which is dependent on family. Naturally, a family cannot occur without a father and a mother and so it makes sense that this is where a child belongs; in a home with married mother and father. I like that it is stated that those who followed the Lord’s plan and came to Earth may “…ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life” (Family).
            My understanding and testimony of this proclamation seem to change as I learn and grow. So very recently I have had a new insight into one of the greatest teachings of the Lord. I hope that I may be able to have the strength and courage to do all that I am asked to do and also the things that I want to do. It is really hard to push on when you have been going in the right direction, but things don’t seem to work out. In this class and through my personal study of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, I want to be able to understand more fully God’s love so that I can help others understand it; namely my own family. It is something that I don’t understand now and may not fully comprehend in this life.
            I am very impressed with how perfectly laid out the proclamation is and how it can be used as a complete guide, alongside the scriptures, for how we should live our lives. I want to learn and practice the way that I am supposed to be as a wife and mother; working alongside my family with faith in my heart, pressing on, because I am on the Lord’s side.
            I feel as though I already have a very strong testimony of all of the principles in the proclamation, but what I want to truly gain and what is going to be very beneficial for me is to learn how I can bless others lives through the teachings of this document. This was written to the world, not to the faithful latter day saints, but to all, to know how to return to Heavenly Father. The gospel is the way to return to His fold, where we came from and we know that we all chose His plan originally. My main goal or what I want to learn is how to be an effective disciple of Christ.
            The proclamation warns those who corrupt the ways of family life and that warning won’t mean anything to them unless we, as disciples, share love and tenderness to those who need it. Christ led by example and it did not go unnoticed. I want to know how to be bold and unafraid of being noticed, for being different and for being lovingly firm. To be this and do this I need to be sure that I am doing all that I can to live all of the principles of this proclamation, because you cannot testify of that which you do not truly know.
            I want to gain a stronger devotion to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and to the simple, daily acts that I have been taught throughout my life to give me strength against the wiles of the wind. I want to be more devoted to prayer and scripture study. These are some of the most basic and important acts to strengthen testimony and relation with the Lord. The proclamation is to help us with these exact things, so that we will recognize the importance of them in helping those who we love the most.
            As I read and reread this proclamation, it brings me to one of my favorite primary songs that I learned just last year. The chorus sings, “God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God” (Neeley). This song teaches so beautifully the principles of the proclamation. Family is where we all want to be.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World. (1995). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day         Saints.
Neeley, M. (2008). The Family is of God. The Friend. 38(10). Retrieved from