(Cheesy looking, yes. But that's also besides the point)
Basically it's about how we choose to let our performance and other people's opinions define us. The book breaks it down into four false beliefs:
- The Performance Trap: I must meet certain standards to feel good about myself.
- Approval Addict: I must be approved by certain others to feel good about myself
- The Blame Game: Those who fail (including myself) are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished
- Shame: I am what I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.
None of the above are true statements, but I've been made aware that I hold these beliefs so deeply that they come out in my behavior every single day without me even realizing it.
When I was up at camp, I realized that the book above is basically the same as one of my favorite (or favourite, depending on what country you're in) children's books. One has a lot more words and goes deeper into theology and the other has better pictures and is more effective at entertaining a cabin full of little girls:
You Are Special by Max Lucado is set in a village of Wemmicks. Wemmicks are wooden people made by the wood carver, Eli. Every day they go around giving each other stickers, either gold stars or grey dots. They try to do as much as they can to earn gold stars and try to do whatever they can to avoid grey dots. Punchinello is the main character and he has a lot of grey dots. One day he meets Lucia who has become my new hero. She had no stickers.
"It wasn't that people didn't try to give her stickers;
it's just that the stickers didn't stick.
Some of the Wemmicks admired Lucia for having no dots,
so they would run up and give her a star.
But it would fall off.
Others would look down on her for having no stars,
so they would give her a dot.
But it wouldn't stay either."
When Punch asks, she says it's because she goes to see Eli every day and she advises him to do the same. He does. He asks Eli,
"Why don't the stickers stay on her?"
The maker spoke softly,
"Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what
they think. The stickers only stick if you let them."
"The stickers only stick if they matter to you.
The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers."
"I'm not sure I understand."
I agree with Punch. I definitely don't understand. But I'm starting to. People are just people. They are not "higher" or "lower" than me. Letting them determine my self-worth is exhausting and futile. One minute I may be feeling super great, but after one critical comment I might be thinking I'm the WORST. What a silly way to live! But I'm learning how to combat those false beliefs with truth.
Hopefully someday I can get to the point where the stickers just don't stick, where others opinions don't matter to me and I don't have to constantly compare myself to others.
Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door,
"you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes."
Punchinello didn't stop, but in his heart he thought,
I think he really means it.
And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.