26 December 2006

Mother Theresa on Forgiveness and Humility

Someone found this video and posted it in my bulletin on myspace. I want to share it with all of you. Sometime I will write about Humility myself, but at this point all I can do is try to absorb some of the wisdom and let it do its work on my soul.

19 December 2006


Recently I have become more intolerant to the unsolicited advice and opinions I receive concerning the health and development of my child. However, here's what I've come to realize about this phenomena of unsolicited advise being given to a mom:

If you really think about it, it makes no sense to try to tell a mom about her child: she's got the intuition, time with the child, and, generally, the paranoia and curiosity to keep her busy reading and seeking out advise on her own.

I think the true driving force behind these comments is the need for validation. Most advise-givers are parents themselves and seeing a child just brings it all back...They want, even need, to prove that they've "still got it". They want to prove it to themselves, but they also need to prove it to me so I can validate it back to them.

Fact is that I want validation as well, that's why I get upset. I want to be acknowledged and respected as the one who knows, loves, and cares for my child best. I get defensive and ready to challenge anyone willing to question my position and abilities as a mom. I want you to validate the fact that I'm a good mom by trusting me to ask all the right questions myself, not needing your prompting.

So the cycle goes: You (my dear reader, please realize that I'm NOT talking about YOU here...am I? haha) give me unsolicited, unwavering opinions and advise about, say, my baby's sleep habits. I say that they're normal, I've looked into it (but I say it with an attitude, like how dare you even ask/say that!). You reitterate your opinion because you're afraid I don't understand the implications of what you're saying. Then I dismiss the whole conversation because I'm ready to bite your head off. We're now both a little on edge and ready to do the whole thing again next time my little one has a bad night.

Now I realize the problem on my part. I intend, starting from today, to break the cycle of invalidation. Why not validate the other person? Why deny them that simple pleasure?--it doesn't hurt me or my baby to do so. By "validate" I don't necessarily mean follow their advise. I mean thank them for being concerned and for sharing their knowledge and assure them that I will look into it. Easy cheesy. Surprising I don't already do this. Honestly it's the mature thing to do. Being prideful sure makes life more difficult and emotional.

11 December 2006


“Those who seek humility should bear in mind the three following things: that they are the worst of sinners, that they are the most despicable of all creatures since their state is an unnatural one, and that they are even more pitiable than the demons, since they are slaves to the demons. You will also profit if you say this to yourself: how do I know what or how many other people's sins are, or whether they are greater than or equal to my own? In our ignorance you and I, my soul, are worse than all men; we are dust and ashes under their feet. How can I not regard myself as more despicable than all other creatures, for they act in accordance with the nature they have been given, while I, owing to my innumerable sins, am in a state contrary to nature.”

-- St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. IV.

What do you all think of this quote? Is all this necessary to be truly humble?