The Ugly Side Exposed? Why Is It So Hard?
It’s rare to find someone who enjoys discovering that side of them that’s not pretty. And I don’t mean when you’re posing for a photo. …Most of us feel some kind of way when the ugly side of us is exposed. And, yes, we all have them. When the hiding places where the enemy of our progress is residing within us are exposed, it’s understandable that it can cause strong emotions. Some us feel frustration, fear, embarrassment, resentment, anger, etc.; and that’s natural. But why is it so hard? Especially when we want to improve in multiple areas of our lives.
I recently had a conversation with someone who read a part of my post entitled, “How Do Invisible Walls Hinder Your Progress?” She said, “Rochelle, I haven’t read the entire post because I don’t want to know the side of me that’s not good.” She went on to say that when people’s bad attributes are exposed, it can make them feel worst about themselves. For instance, a depressed person becomes more depressed when they look at those parts of them that feed their depression. My question to her was, “Wouldn’t you want to know what’s hindering your progress, so that you can grow?” She said emphatically, “No Rochelle! And I’m not answering any more of your questions.” We laughed and changed the subject. But the thought lingered with me.
Why is it so hard for us to find out the side of us that is not pretty? Why don’t we see the exposure as an opportunity for improvement? Perhaps it is pride? Perhaps there are some old wounds that have scabs, but are not truly healed? Perhaps we deal with inferiority complexes or esteem issues? These reasons alone are why we have to allow exposure of the hiding places where the enemy of our soul has taken residence. Pride comes before a fall and unhealed wounds causes more pain and discomfort. If we don’t uncover the hiding places, we will never see the need to shed the ugliness about us.
Think about it. Even snakes cannot grow until they have lost their shell. Actually, a caterpillar doesn’t look pretty; it sheds its’ skin many times as it grows. It looks worse in its chrysalis, surrounded and covered. But, it is in this stage that it is resting and turning into a butterfly.
Certainly it’s uncomfortable to discover things about us that are not pretty. For instance, when someone tells you that you have something hanging out of your nose. Do you feel embarrassed, anger, grateful, or all the above? Now of course, or at least I hope, you will wipe your nose. But would you allow the observation to cause you to avoid talking to people? Would aggravation arise and you wonder who all saw your nose problem and just didn’t say anything? Or would you just stand there and talk and not do a thing? What???
If someone came to you and said very discreetly, “You have a split right in the back of your pants?” How would you feel; embarrassed, anger, grateful; or would it not affect you at all? If one of your coworkers, schoolmates, or church members, comes to you and says, “Hey, I’ve wanted to tell you this for a while. Did anyone ever tell you that you talk a little too much?” How would you feel? Angry, embarrassed? How would you respond? Would you say, “Do I?” And think to yourself, let me pray about it. Or would you retaliate and say, “Who are you to tell me that?” Think about it.
If you were talking to someone and they stopped talking and gave you a mint or stick of gum while you were talking, would you become offended? Or would you laugh and say, “Oh, are you trying to tell me that my breath stinks?” Or perhaps someone came to you and said, “I’ve been agonizing on how to tell you this. Do you have a bad tooth or something? Your breath has a bad odor?” Would you be embarrassed; or become angry with that person?
I posed the above questions to two separate groups of people in two different settings. Group One were young adults ages 23 to 36 in a setting that we will call “Kitchen talk.” Group Two were older adult women ages 45+ in a more formal setting.
Group One’s responses to the question about the nose problem varied. One person said that they would be embarrassed and immediately grab a mirror to fix the problem. But she said that she would be thinking all day if she had something in her nose when talking to others. One of the guys said that it wouldn’t bother him at all. The responses from Group Two were slightly different. One person said that they would be thankful for the person who brought that to their attention. Another person said that they would be embarrassed.
I asked the question to both groups about someone telling them that they talk too much. Group One responded angrily. One person said with a frown on her face, “What???” A second person said, that he would just continue to talk as If the person hadn’t said a word, and it wouldn’t bother him at all. He then said that he would start taking jabs at the person who said that to him. He would think, “Who are you to tell me that I talk too much? You don’t even know me? Let me tell you about you?” A third person said that he would not even think about it any more; because what other people say doesn’t phase him. I asked the second person why it matters if the person knows him or not. He said that it made him think of several things. He said, “If a person doesn’t know me, who are they to tell me about how I talk? Only certain people have the authority to tell me that.” He also said, “Nobody cared when I didn’t come in the house when the street lights were on. Nobody cared when I didn’t eat my food or when I didn’t go to school. So why would anybody want to tell me about how I talk now?”
There it is. Can you see any invisible walls in Group One’s responses?
Group Two responded to the question about the person telling them that they talk too much in multiple ways. One person said that if a person who they had a longstanding relationship with said that to her she would take it because that person knows her. However, if someone who doesn’t really know her says that to her she wouldn’t readily accept it. However, she would pray about it and see if God tells her that she talks too much. A second person said that she would be grateful for the person telling her. I asked, “But how would that make you feel?” She kept talking about how grateful she was. A third person talked about how a person told her about her clothes and how it caused her not to wear a particular skirt for a year. The conversation transitioned to people’s intent.
There it is in a different way. Can you see any invisible walls to Group Two’s responses?
I remember some years ago on my job. We had production standards to meet. There were several people cheating on their reporting so that it appeared that they were meeting their production standards. Because I was living for Jesus, I decided not to cheat, but to attempt to meet the standards. I didn’t do well and one of my coworkers started speaking ill of me because of my numbers. I clearly knew that she was an air head who someone showed how to cheat, so I started handling her as such.
The word, condescending, started coming to my spirit daily. It would be in my spirit when I woke up in the morning. When I drove into the parking lot, that word came into my spirit. When I was working on the sixth floor, that word would come to my spirit. At lunch, condescending would come into my spirit. As I walked out of the building and walked to my car, condescending would come into my spirit. After a couple of weeks of this word bombarding my spirit, I prayed to the Lord and asked why that word kept coming to me. The Lord told me, “Rochelle, you are talking to your coworker in a condescending manner. You are looking down on her and saying things to make her feel stupid. Your intellect is a gift. Not something to make others feel bad.” Ouch! I was so embarrassed and ashamed. I repented to the Lord and asked Him to help me. It wasn’t an overnight transformation. It’s a work in progress.
Now, I know you might be saying, “Well, that was the Lord telling you about yourself. It’s totally different when someone else tells you about the ugly side of you.” My point. Exposure of the ugly side of us, no matter who it comes from, doesn’t feel good. Who wants to see that side of them that is UGLY? It doesn’t matter who it comes from. It can come directly from God. Or God can tell us through multiple avenues; a sermon, a writing, a person speaking directly to us or through a song. It can also come from someone who has ill-intent.
God wants us to expand. Think about it. If a caterpillar could talk, what if it said that it didn’t want to go through the ugly stages? If it didn’t transition from egg, to larva, to chrysalis, it wouldn’t become a beautiful butterfly. Certainly we can go through whatever it takes to become our best.
Take another look at the questions. How would they make you feel? Is it hard or easy for exposure of your ugly sides to come forth? Or do you not have an ugly side? Why? Did you see any invisible walls? I’d love to hear from you.
Originally posted 2015-10-26 14:41:37.