MY MOTHER, who I'm sure loved me very much, was a perfectionist and wanted me to be perfect. So, as I was growing up, I was made very aware of my shortcomings. I was frequently criticized and yelled at, and often compared to a relative whose life was not turning out very well. By the time I was a teenager, my self-esteem was at a pretty low level. And on top of that, I had acne.

At the private school I started attending in my sophomore year of high school I met some very friendly, outgoing girls. I wanted so much to be like them, but seemed stuck, continually feeling withdrawn and quiet.

An opportunity was presented to me about that time to take a job as a telephone switchboard operator on Saturday mornings at the campus administration building. I liked that idea, because I wouldn't have to be with other people. I decided to use the time to read through Prose Works, a collection of writings by Mary Baker Eddy that my Sunday School teacher had recommended. As I read, I began to be more conscious of who God is, and of my relationship with Him. I drank in everything I read, and responded to the many spiritual ideas that I realized were really about me, about who I really was. And it changed my entire view of myself and of life in general. I learned that God made me complete, satisfied. That I was His dear child—perfect. Perfect, not from a perfectionist, human standpoint, but as a spiritual idea, as God's likeness.

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CRITIQUE from the sidelines
August 28, 2006

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