Everybody you meet is a mix of the dazzling and the dismal. And these are just the people you’re given to love. Including the one looking back at you in the mirror.
Here’s a brief meditation on how to love imperfect people. How to love yourself. Have a listen:
I say much more about loving imperfect people in my book A Resurrection Shaped Life. Here’s an excerpt:
I discovered something after spending years chasing achievements. If you spend your life trying to make yourself lovable, you will never feel loved. Let me explain by way of another story.
When I was in high school, one of my favorite teachers, Sister Charleen Klister, taught me to write. In her sophomore English class at St. Pius X, we handed in essays every week. I was not especially disciplined about any of this; I frequently got to school only to remember in a panic that an essay was due that very morning. I would race the day’s start-bell to churn out the required word count.
Halfway through the school year, Sister Charleen reminded us to turn in our journals—the journals that were supposed to contain our daily reflections for the past several months. The journal that I had been completely blowing off. I devoted an entire weekend to writing journal entries. To my credit, the first entry explained what I was doing. At a few points, all I could think to write was that I couldn’t think what to write.
These hurriedly scribbled weekly essays and doggedly recorded jour- nal entries must have been agony to read. But Sister Charleen did read them. And responded to them. In detail. She didn’t make corrections in red or mark out hair-brained errors. In the margins alongside ideas that energized me, she shared her thoughtful responses. Good turns of phrase caught her eye, and she was generous and instructive with her compliments. The most critical thing she ever wrote was in response to one of the very last of those awful journal entries. She said, “I can tell you’re really getting tired now.”
Sister Charleen believed in my ability as a writer, and she wanted me to believe in myself.