The ability to be introspective is a divine gift handed down to us. I try to take advantage as often as I can, checking myself here, mulling over my behavior there. Of course I am not nearly as successful as I should be with curbing my behavior considering I have myself figured out quite well.
The ability and desire to be 100% brutally honest with myself was born from trial by fire. It is my consolation prize in a sense. All I had to do was go to hell and back and if I play my cards right I never have to do it again.
This emotional nudity is something I can only share with myself. I am walled off in every meaningful way from those around me and from my friends and acquaintances. That type of information tends to make people sad or to make them feel sorry for me but I don’t. I am still a passionate person by nature and so I can enjoy a full range of emotional connection with others while keeping those portions hidden.
You might be thinking to yourself what this might possibly have to do with the Gospel, or with The Church. In a way it has a lot to do with both. Before I was able to really find out who I was I would be easily tossed to and fro with the tides of faith. I always believed but because my faith in myself was so weak, and my understanding of how I functioned was so lacking I never knew what was coming next and that is a scary feeling. Faith is the hope of things not seen, but what happens when you have no hope? The Church comes in because it was actually at Church where I first understood that I would have to hide these parts of me forever. Not because they were imperfect (which they are), or because they don’t fit within the Mormon narrative (which they don’t), but because I came to know that I was the only living person I could rely on.
I realize this post is starting to sound like a bum out, and I do apologize for that but my purpose here is actually to stress that we must know ourselves first, must care for ourselves first before we can truly be of any use to others. I don’t believe that you can’t love others until you love yourself, but I do believe that we rob ourselves of an important opportunity for peace when we don’t take the time to get to know the only person we can never escape.