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Reputation and weakness

March 19, 2009

When I was young (about 9), I told my mom I had a headache. She said it might be from stress. 

I felt strange in that instant. Stress was something in the adult world I didn’t quite understand yet, but I knew enough that it was not something you admitted to having until you did hard things. Stress meant you thought life was hard. 

Everyone told me my life was easy. “How could my life be easy if I am being stress?”  I thought to myself. I must have looked confused or ashamed because my mother hurriedly assured me, “Physical stress in your neck, like tension.” 

I instantly felt relieved. I didn’t quite know why then but I suspect it had something to do with hard concepts like the eighth sin, and big words like reputation and acceptance. 

How much value does our society place on reputation, acceptance and strength, that by nine years old, in a fairly accepting and loving family, I was feeling the fear of the Eighth Sin already? 

I suppose young children know a lot about trying to be and look strong. And isn’t that most of what reputation is?  They are always saying “I can do it,” and “Look how big I am now!”

Little boys come to the age when they try not to cry. Little girls try to keep up with older brothers. Children grow to be teens with eating disorders, or people who conform to peer pressure. All in search of acceptance. 

Two Questions: 

  1.  Why is fear of weakness so strong? 
  2.  Is it worth the damage it causes?

Change starts in your own life. If you decide to abolish the eighth sin in your and forgive yourself for being weak, you won’t have to deal with the pain of falling so far or the shame of being forced to ask for help during recovery. 

And perhaps if we learn to express this weakness properly (to the right people) then even the loneliness of no one knowing who you are will begin to ebb.

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