For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3)
I always wondered how I can ever step out of myself as a third party to look back at myself with sober judgement; an honest evaluation of myself.
“No! That’s not me, I can’t be like that!” Doors shut. Often, this will be the voice of resistance and the first line of defense against anyone who disagreed with what I thought of myself to be. Such is a conversation stopper. But we both know, it isn’t just a conversation stopper, it is essentially the easiest path to living in denial if what was said is true. It is at such cross-junctions that I have come to realize that the comments regardless were true or untrue, I can choose to progress and face myself with a dollop of curiosity, a dash of courage and some rationality.
Instead of throwing the ball received into the dustbin, I threw the ball back at that part of me that actually made my spouse, or my close friend, or my mum, or my dad, or my child, or my sister, or my aunt, or just an acquaintance, comment such about me. I started the FBI investigations by recalling my actions and words used, recounted the motivation that made me do what was done, opened up any cards of misunderstanding or misinformation I had. The deeper I searched within my heart, the clearer it became as each little heart in me voiced out their concerns and frustration, each needing some sort of vindication. And like Adam who named his creatures, I started naming them.
As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. (Proverbs 27:19)
Jewish wisdom draws a parallel between water reflecting what can be seen (external) and the heart reflecting what is hidden (internal). I have gradually come to realise that the way I react, the way I think or the way I carry myself and interact with others externally is actually a reflection of the many little hearts internally within me. In other words, because now that I have understood that I am actually made up of many little hearts, each having their own reasoning and voice, the lines between them and I became more clearly defined. This contributed to my neutrality stance; the third party perspective.
The result of having known the above? I concluded that I, as a individual, can actually take responsible control over these little hearts of mine to my benefit by understanding them. I became a teacher to nurture them where there was a growing lack. You see, it works like this: if I had not been able to differentiate myself from my little hearts, I would not be able to detect which heart needed more attention. And of course it works both ways, if my heart benefited from the guidance given, my entire being benefits too. As King David spoke to his own heart (Psalm 42:11), I spoke to my hearts and opened a path for change:
I reasoned with my Thinking Heart,
comforted my Sad Heart,
saw opportunities and learnt with my Humble Heart,
formulated numerous ideas with my Creative Heart when disciplining my daughter,
cautioned against breaking any eggs while carrying them with my Conscious Heart,
explained to my Understanding Heart,
waited with my Patient Heart,
felt hopeful under difficult circumstances with my Joyful Heart,
empathised with my Kind Heart,
taught self-control to my Angry Heart,
warned myself not to make use of my Crying Heart to get the things I want,
attempted to clearly express and articulate my feelings and thoughts with my Talking Heart,
composed cheesy love quotes, hugged and planted kisses with my Loving Heart.
Through the lenses of understanding, observing and learning about myself, it further gave me the confidence knowing that I can become a better me. (I am sure my husband would raise both hands and legs to agree!) On hindsight, it was my Curious Heart that made me wonder how I could ever look at myself with sober judgement. Thankfully, no cat was killed. Unexpectedly, I received my comrades for life; my Superhero Hearts.