Discernment and Expectations

Parker Palmer writes,

We arrive in this world with birthright gifts-then we spend the first half of our lives abandoning them or letting others disabuse us of them.  As young people, we are surrounded by expectations that may have little to do with who we really are, expectations held by people who are not trying to discern our selfhood but to fit us into slots.  In families, schools, workplaces, and religious communities, we are trained away from true self toward images of acceptability; under social pressures like racism and sexism our original shape is deformed beyond recognition, and we ourselves, driven by fear, too often betray true self to gain the approval of others (Let Your Life Speak, 12).

When in your life have the expectations of others overwhelmed, or deformed, your sense of self?  Spend a few minutes today remembering a moment when you might have been driven by fear or desire for approval.  What was that like for you?

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