Valuing wholeness

In the midst of work and life today, I've been pondering the idea of what it means to honor the whole self of another person. Specifically, I am wondering whether I really take the time and effort necessary to value the wholeness of other people.

I am realizing I have a tendancy to completely overlook 'growing edges/flaws/blatant rudeness' in other people. Yet I do just about the opposite when it comes to myself - I am super critical of my own growing edges and not particularly valuing of the good things. Does anyone else do this?

What I was awakened to today is that in refusing to acknowledge the wholeness of others (flaws included), in reality, I am just creating make-believe people who don't really exist. As you might imagine, this gets me into frustrating and troublesome situations. I expect people to be the kind, wonderful, thoughtful people they are in my mind, so the second they do something that I perceive to be hurtful or careless, I get so deeply offended that it's a little ridiculous.

As a person who deeply values being kind/respectful to others and being treated with kindness/respect by others, I always struggle with the balance between being 'optimistic' and being 'realistic.' But as time goes by, I am learning that it is okay and very healthy to be both. It is good to want to see the best in others, but I need to remember that no one is perfect and no one expects me to be perfect. People make mistakes and do hurtful and stupid things - we all do. It's all part of the strangeness of the journey. Lots of lessons only get learned through mess-ups.

Maybe if I can do a better job of recognizing & affirming the wholeness of the people in my life (not just the parts I like), I will be able to develop more meaningful and genuine relationships. Also, maybe then I won't get so darn offended.

So this is the goal: Value wholeness. In my own case, I specifically need to learn to honor and respect the parts in people that I find annoying, difficult, and completely frustrating. It takes lots of parts to make a whole person, and I will be a better pastor/friend/sister/daughter/life partner (eventually)/child of God if I recognize whole people rather than unrealistic perfect people.

Here's today's project. Another collage.

The quote in the bottom right corner is by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. It says, "Once we take that first, fundamental risk and let the love of God and of each other fill our lives and actions, it is like the experience of falling love."

I thought that was a nice thought.

There are so many risks in a life fully lived. Perhaps being truly vulnerable - being open to God's love and to the love of other people - often feels like the biggest risk of all.

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