I was recently offered a new position at work–it represents a bit of a promotion. It’s a job that focuses on some primary aspects of the varied roster of duties I’ve had in my five-year tenure where I work, but at a higher level of overall responsibility. Back in the day, I would have credited Christian Science, God, and probably Mary Baker Eddy (in some way) for this opportunity. Most people of deep faith will credit God or some other deity for good fortune in their lives. I do not. I’m going to sound a bit selfish and egotistical here, dear reader; but in this case, I largely credit myself.
I’ve worked diligently, dependably, and hard; and what was clearly pointed out to me was that in the eyes of my employer, I had demonstrated that I was very well suited for the new position I’ll be transitioning into. No, it wasn’t the intervention of some supernatural being who suddenly decided to smile favourably on me, it was my demonstrated competence, and the recognition of that by my employer, that prompted them to consider me for this newly-created position.
It will also be my own competence in this new job that will largely dictate my success or failure, and this brings me to another thing that often gnaws at those of us who grew up in Christian Science: a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy. Many of my compatriots in the ex-Christian Scientist on-line groups have expressed similar feelings. It’s that feeling that you are not worthy of something good that’s come to you; you’re not good enough for that promotion, you’re going to fail, or something like that. Most of us have come to the conclusion that a lot of this stems from the relentless pursuit in Christian Science of perfection, and the central idea in its theology that states that in the so-called “spiritual realm” there is nothing but perfection, in contradistinction to the world we do live in. Thus, anything other than perfection is false.
In this very human wold we live in, there is no such thing as absolute perfection. It’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow–you’ll never get there, but so many unnecessarily beat themselves down when they do not achieve perfection. Now, striving to be the best is a good thing–there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; but, we all need to cut ourselves a break and accept the fact that we’re not perfect. We are going to make mistakes, and people working for us will too. Let the small stuff go, address the bigger things, and if someone does something truly damaging through sheer incompetence, then maybe they do need to be let go or moved into a more suitable position–and you need to think about why you thought they’d be suitable for the job.
I have little doubt that I would not have been considered for this job if my employers didn’t think I was the right fit, and that it was the right fit for me. However, it’s hard to get away from 40 years of conditioning that makes me think I’m not good enough. Yes, I will probably make some mistakes, despite my best efforts. The important thing is to learn from them, do not repeat them over and over again; and most importantly, make it right. I’ve done that before, I can do it again. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the happiness I do feel at this new opportunity, and I will absolutely do my best at this new job.
I am so happy for you! Wonderful!
Oh my gosh. You just helped me realize why my step mom is so down on herself ALL THE TIME. because she doesn’t see herself as perfect. She works so hard to be perfect all the time and all she sees is that she falls short ALL THE TIME.
No wonder she is a complete wreck. I left Christian Science and embraced my imperfect self and it’s been so liberating!!! I have short comings! Hallelujah! I am human!
I wish it wasn’t such a huge leap for Christian Scientists to leave Christian Science. They are so fearful and that is incredibly sad.
One of the reader reviews of Carolyn Fraser’s book “God’s Perfect Child” also commented on the psychological damage which is inflicted on people who feel they constantly have to practice a form of perfectionism which is instilled in them through Christian Science.
One of the reviews that always stuck with me was dated February 12, 2000, entitled “Thanks, Carolyn!” Written by a former class taught, Sunday School teacher, she found that form of perpetual absolutism very damaging. She had to seek out psychological help. She told the psychologist of Mrs. Eddy’s invocation to “Let that mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” Astounded, the psychologist exclaimed to her: “What are you doing to yourself? There is only one Christ. He’s perfect! You’re not! It’s O.K. to be human.” That kind of guidance helped guide her out of the extremism of Christian Science, and into a life of rationality and clarity away from it, along with her non-C.S. friends who were rooting for her.
She began to receive the help she needed from the psychologist. But do you remember how, in Christian Science, psychologists/psychiatrists are considered so “dangerous”?
When you think of it, WHO in their right mind would ever want to be Christ, or to have his mind? You’d have to really be delusional. Yet people in Christian Science think that, because Mrs. wrote it, they have to, on some level, strive for it, an impossible goal. (And, if you’re not at least trying, well, that’s just mortal mind talking to you). My God, no wonder there is so much mental instability in that religion.
(And for that matter, who knows what was really going on with Jesus, in any event, over 2,000 years ago. And I even really wonder if he really existed, but that’s just my opinion).
I’m so glad to be out of the absolutism of that religion. It really is “O.K. to be human!”
I love this comment. Spot on. Thank you so much!!!!!
Just for clarification, the review I referenced for “God`s Perfect Child” was dated February 12th, 2000, and appears on amazon.com.