At my university’s chapel yesterday, the speaker gave an amazingly candid and thought-provoking exercise for us to do. “List the reasons why you think that you are a better person or Christian than others. Then list the reasons why you are worse.”
Even more shockingly, he went on to list some of his reasons. I similarly made lists in my notebook. Looking back at the items was a strong jolt of reality for me. Pride and superiority is a far bigger issue in my life than I ever realized. In fact, all of us seem to battle this more than we want to admit even if it is hidden in the guise of self-hate.
Sharing this list is very frightening. Maybe you will think that I am an awful person now. Just know that I am very sorry for thinking in such a way and am resolved to work to alter my view. We are all humans, not better or worse than each other. None of these statements are true despite what I unknowingly thought for years.
Reasons I think that I am better
- I work hard at my job and school.
- I try to get perfect grades and normally succeed.
- I have never done drugs.
- I have not drank.
- I have never smoked.
- I do not swear or say words that I think are dirty.
- I enjoy studying and learning.
- I grew up in the country and love to be outside.
- I work to earn my own money instead of relying on my parents (not entirely true even).
- I feel guilty easily.
Reasons I think that I am worse
- I do not understand many social interactions.
- I have a hard time eating or over-eating food.
- I am scared of relationships and do not know if I want to get married.
- I am Catholic and confused about aspects of my faith.
- I am not good at exercising.
- I struggle to take care of myself even in simple ways like taking baths, brushing my hair, and wearing makeup.
- I am depressed often.
- I am not thin enough.
- I am not strong enough to face life or kill myself.
- I have thoughts about hurting myself and others which are very troubling.
I feel sick looking at those lists, but making them was a relief. Hopefully, you will not hate me now. If so, I am sorry for the pain that I caused. All that I can do now is realize my mistaken thoughts and strive to change them. What about your lists? Do you have thoughts that might need to be challenged?