We think like this more often than we might realize. Ever heard someone say “I’m just not good at math”? People learn math all the time, and yet some persist in thinking they're “different”. This thinking reflects the cultural notion of “it”, the idea that you either have “it” or you don’t.
The insidiousness of Western culture
From cradle to grave, Western society teaches us to compare ourselves with others and to believe that those on top must have “it”. How else, the culture reasons, could they have succeeded?
What results from this thinking? Everyone keeps climbing all over each other trying to prove how great they are. They seek to validate their own sense of self-worth within the culture. Unless you prove that you're better than someone else — that you have “it” — Western culture teaches that you aren’t validated.
The cultural notion of “it” also encourages you to do everything on your own. If you need help, you obviously don’t have “it”. This notion explains why so many of us find it hard to accept service from others. Because of our cultural programming, we don’t want to appear like we don’t have “it”.
"It" discourages righteous families
This one cultural influence frustrates many LDS singles as they try to create families. For example, suppose you have some bad experiences with dating. OK, so maybe you don’t have to suppose. Is your normal response to give up because you think you don’t have “it”?
Wired as we are by our culture, we very easily think, If we weren’t born with whatever wonderful something it is that we believe we need to have to succeed, then why even try?
We also compare ourselves with others or some hypothetical ideal and think we don’t measure up. Often in such instances we quit without ever really trying. It’s obvious you don’t have “it” if you aren’t as wonderful as someone else. So why torture yourself by proving what you fear, that you're unable to have your righteous desires? After all, you just don’t have “it”.
Turn the tide with the truth
It doesn’t have to be that way. Replace the idea of “it” with the idea that talent can be learned. You can then see service from others as an opportunity to learn something new and to improve upon yourself. That makes it easier to embrace.
No talent of any kind is innate. Learning line upon line is part of the experience we came to mortality to have.
Even people who think that they aren't “math people” can learn math. I saw it all the time in a former life as a night school instructor. Talent can be learned.
And because it is learned, you need to see failure as a chance to improve yourself. Remember that your focus determines your reality.
For example, it’s easy to think you're somehow defective because you can’t get a date. And as long as you focus on how “defective” you are, your reality will feel to confirm just that.
But when you focus instead on your efforts, your failure to get a date doesn’t mean something is wrong with you but rather with your effort. Ask yourself, “Why was it exactly that my effort to get a date failed?” and then keep following that trail until you find real answers.
You are already accepted
Ultimately the Savior has already accepted you. He would not have suffered all He did if you were not worth redeeming. That means you don’t have to prove or validate yourself or even compare yourself with anyone else. You are already accepted.
His acceptance is the only one that matters. When you accept that truth, you free yourself from feeling you must have a significant other in order to be accepted. You can more easily be real in your interactions with other people. You don’t have to pretend you're something you really aren’t. That freedom makes life so much more enjoyable.
If you don’t feel that freedom now, then pray for it. The Lord will guide you to embrace your true worth. After all, He knows that you're worth it.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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