503676cd4968711c3f72775df19e2090I have been reading this book entitled, “You Are Already Amazing.” As hokey sounding as it is, the book is at moments nothing but that. The premise revolves around the idea that God has made each of us wonderfully, and that all we need to do is listen to God and we will be able to believe it.

The author herself mentions time and again how this is a ridiculous sentiment for most people, even those who believe in religion and higher powers. The idea that we are made, not perfect, but wonderfully is often so far out of our reach of understanding, that I personally find myself amused rather than inspired. The book was a good idea in my head.

I can’t imagine God or any being looking down at me, smiling and nodding their head and going, “you go girl.” It literally is not in my possession the ability to believe this. I have often seen God more of as a father figure, patting me on the head and allowing me to make astronomical mistakes in some grand hope that by the time I finally see him I will be a better and “wonderful” person. What is that old saying, “my guardian angel must be taking her smoke break.”

The books delves into many ideas. Of course, like all self-help books of its genre, the book has to explain why you have been lying to yourself all these years and can’t believe that you are already amazing. The author starts us at our most vulnerable, that child playground. Even at those times when the only thing we should be concentrating on is weather playtime is now or later, we are sucked into a image conscience world of being perfect. And when we are not perfect, we are disappointing. We see it in the eyes of those around us, in the ignoring of the good children because the bad children take up so much time, and in the lost memories of our parent’s own childhood. We are told over and over throughout our childhood that we aren’t perfect or wonderfully made, and yet we wonder about the issues we have.

My ability to believe that I am amazing was destroyed long ago; and the moment I built my walls up it came down again. I can, with almost amazing passion, show and tell each of the moments in my life that defined me. My father telling me that I was fatter than the other kids and I was just going to have to work harder to get it off. My mother never showing feelings of any kind because it was literally beaten out of her long before I came into the picture. My perfect sister, a high-powered attorney, who the world looks upon as the epitome of what one should be when we grow up. I am a failure in my family in so many ways I could right a book.

What surprised me about this book however, were the revelations that came not from the stupid little exercises the author wanted me to do, but rather the little bitty, lost and obscure sentences that she used to make a point but is beginning to define a new picture of my life.

For instance, my father is what I would describe as manic. My mother depressive.

My father loves to talk about himself and only himself in the loudest words possible. He loves to speak about how he is doing (and it is always great), the latest trip he is planning (and it is always exotic) or the latest woman he is sleeping with (they are a dime a dozen really). He very rarely, if ever, truly listens to the daughters that are his. I am expected, even at this age, to be where he put me and ready for his discourse of the greatness of himself.

My mother on the other hand doesn’t ever talk about herself. She rarely, if ever, talks about the past or her memories of it. She doesn’t show frustration, upset, or even love all that easily. It isn’t the person that she is. If I don’t periodically force her to see me she would literally believe that I was too busy for her and never contact me. She is absurdly fair, in that each child or grandchild has to have the same, and she will not ever let you into the inner world that is only hers. I don’t even know if she has one.

I look at my mother and father and I realize one surprising thing. I am bipolar, it is a genetic disease that I have. Yet, my history, my life to date is so bipolar in its existence one shudders to thing who and what I would be if this disease hadn’t saved my life. If I had never been diagnosed bipolar, would I be able to handle the thousands of moods and indifference thrown at me on a daily basis? If I had never been forced into therapy, would I be able to see what it is that I come from? Did God give me this disease because he wanted to give me a chance at not only clarity but healing?  And if my parents hadn’t been so mercurial in their emotions, would I have ever been diagnosed in the first place? What if I had never been taught either side, but rather only the middle?

And is the wonderful person I am trying to become in direct relation to the amazing help I have gotten along the way, either in person or through my books? Can I celebrate my triumphs in a different light? Can I confess that my strengths aren’t based on my past but what I made of that past?

e05eca1224544a34c13424c1b70765c3Speaking of strengths, that is exactly where the book goes next. Not only identifying your strengths and weaknesses but understanding that each side plays off the other and it is in the balance that we must live. Too much strength – too much ego. Too much weakness – too much self-condemnation. But live in a world where you play to your strengths with the knowledge of what your weaknesses are and what they can destroy and you may just may live a balanced life. Truthfully, I imagine that if you read this book you may get something altogether different than I did; but at least it will start you thinking.

I think of my strengths and then feel guilty. Mostly because I don’t use my strengths as often as I should. For instance, I would consider my writing as an expression of my strength. It is something God gave me that I take long and emotionally draining breaks from. Aren’t I supposed to be using this strength to help others, like I have always stated was important to me? Then why do I get stuck in a land of la-la with absolutely nothing to say?

It is snowing outside my window today, and it is a beautiful sight. It reminds me that despite the fact that I am not amazing, nor am I beautiful, there are sights out there that are very much just that.

I thought this book would show me how to feel amazing. That’s what we all want, to feel like we are amazing enough to deserve friends, family, a good time, a nice vacation. But instead this book is making me focus on the details of who I am and rather than come to the conclusion that I am amazing rather forces me to focus on why I can’t believe those words. It is an exhausting ride that only great books can give you. But it is also a ride that will make you so nauseous at the end, you won’t ever want to get back on.