Sonia Kurian shares on how to heal fragile egos that stem from insecurities to have a healthy emotional response to the ups and downs of life
While many of us choose to live a life of sanctity and holiness, we know all too well that the person who looks back at us in the mirror, is busy dealing daily with the seemingly tattooed brokenness and fallenness of our own humanity. It may be tempting to believe that the root of this brokenness lies in others, and is no fault of our own. In fact, we may even go so far as to believe that we could achieve sainthood if other people would just leave us alone. But we also know that as Catholics called to be present to our world, this isn’t true.
As Pope Francis stated, “I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant”. Nothing makes us encounter the faults within ourselves better than encountering ‘the other’, in community. For instance, we may think we’re so humble, until we brush against someone who hurts our pride and prove how good we are at feigning humility, rather than actually possessing it. We may think we are incredibly patient, until a fateful encounter with a toddler throwing a tantrum would prove how short our fuse actually is.
It is understandable that parts of our brokenness may have been caused by others, or rooted in the actions of others but, it is important to also identify that we are also not hapless victims in the face of that brokenness. We believe in a God who rose from a brutal death, redeeming all things from wounds and scars of the body, to the extent of calling ruin upon the greatest threats to human life – death and sin itself. Faced with such a God, nothing is an impossibility and no brokenness is irredeemable.
That brokenness felt is very much a reality, but to begin dealing with that brokenness within ourselves and within our community, a healthy emotional balance can be key. In addition, while living in a community, it feels like there is an immediate need to have a balanced sense of self that can allow us to encounter and live with others in a healthy way. Although maintaining emotional balance is a process that takes time for healing and recovery, it begins with the anchor of a sense of our own identity, and where we draw our value and dignity from. Without it, one can very easily become a ship tossed whichever way the sea goes. And as Christians, we know where we draw this identity from. In 1 John 3: 1, the apostle tells us, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Often in seeking to better ourselves, we’re all used to seeking out gurus who have mastered the arts we desire to conquer. In seeking to learn how to love ourselves and others, there is no better guru than the perfect lover, the divine bridegroom himself. When there is an inner doubt, a bruised ego, a raw insecurity, I have found no better cure than going to “the one my soul loves”, to seek refuge and to see the truth, where I may have believed the lie.
In addition, being children of the heavenly Father, the God of the universe, is an identity we should breathe in and draw from daily. When in doubt or despair, we should take the freedom to approach and drink of this love, that we thirst so deeply for. It is within His embrace, and within the eternal love of the Trinity, that we come to know who we are, how we are to be loved, and how we are to give and receive that love. Once we have learned at the steps of this school of love, we know how we are called to model and give that love in the community that is the body of Christ.
No one has corrected so gently, reassured so tenderly, and above all, loved so patiently and so unconditionally, until I believed I was worthy of being loved. Isaiah 42:3 says this beautifully, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice”. And it is within the arms of that love, that all things are healed and made new (Is 43:19).
In knowing ourselves, we can stand on a firm footing that allows us to encounter others without the wound of our insecurities being teased open, every time our egos are bruised. And in going to the Lord in moments of insecurity, we can allow Him to help us see every situation through the lens of truth, as He sees it, rather than through our own biased perspectives. This allows us to recalibrate ourselves, relying on the compass that is reliable and infallible.