A bucket to a well is as I am to people's souls.
A match to a hard, dry surface is as I am to people's souls.
As a siren to a sailor, a muse to a musician, a pair of scissors to a puppet's strings.
I've recently realized I have this unspoken ability to charm demons, as it were. Perhaps you have been touched by this "awesome" power of mine. I can think of a few people already who exhibit symptoms of exposure.
Here, I'll explain.
I'm an honest person. Not perfectly, sure, but I can't stand to house incongruities, unbalanced feelings, unattended weaknesses, disturbances of peace, or unrepentant acts or urges within me. When something's not right, I scour my insides to pinpoint the source and determine a solution. I'm a healer, a peacemaker, a life guard. For myself and, peripherally, for others.
See, I don't take crap from myself. I know when I'm coming up with excuses, justifications—all those limp impostors of security—and when that happens, I smack it away. I always try. Sometimes I'm around others when they start to take crap from themselves. We've all done it. We may or may not know what it looks like as we're doing it, but if you try to be self aware, you'll recognize the crap.
We want to coddle our unconfident emotions, we steam and pout to justify our sour moods and wallow in them longer, we attempt to protect our faltering temperaments by wrapping them in more faulty behaviors. Why do we do that? It's like we enjoy doing things wrong over and over in an attempt to ruin our esteem and potential so we don't have to work as hard to be good. Or maybe because we care so much about our tender centers that we want to keep them from pain—even if that pain refines, purifies, gives true strength and protection.
A prick of the needle to draw blood for the diagnosis is as I am to people's souls.
So when I see this happening in myself, I turn off my usual feelers of tender listening and give myself a "you're excruciatingly stupid if you actually want to put that crap in your mouth" look and vie for a better route to redirect my self-pitying sorrow, unforgiving reaction, unrighteous judgment, irrational fear, crippling self-doubt, etc., to a destination that will bring me back to the still, peaceful feelings of the spirit and restore an inner equilibrium.
If I see this behavior brewing in others, I try to be their truest friend and smack it away. When they see the "what the heck, don't eat that crap" look on my face, they are often in an emotional state that doesn't handle a lack of tenderness very well. I admit that I'll seem uncaring and unhelpful, but seriously, don't make up crap and take it from yourself. I'm on your side.
But there are other times when I don't realize I'm drawing people to face their demons, when I'm catalyst, impetus to self-inspection, and then I find out later.
1) Mission companion number five. We struggled a lot. Living together and more importantly working and teaching together without unity was very straining, draining. Eventually I learned my unsettledness was due to my own stingy judging that she was doing things wrong where I was doing them right, and instead of focusing on the who, I focused on the what. What was right? Love and service. So I served her, and that made me love her, and the consequences of that were unity and harmony. And she later told me that because of my being a complete prickle bush stickler for obeying rules (she said to me "at first it felt like I was living with the mission president. That was really hard." ha!) and always pestering for peace, her own testimony (in seemingly unrelated topics) was strengthened. I didn't ever know she juggled those elements of her knowledge of God and the restoration of the gospel, but my own testimony and the way my way of living made her uncomfortable apparently helped her face the unsettled things within herself that she was trying to protect, and she realized she could heal them instead of hide them.
2) A male who wasn't a boyfriend and who got more outta me than a not-boyfriend should. We struggled to meet anywhere close to a middle to decide if we should officially date...lots of back and forth crap. One day, at the pitiful end-part of our non-relationship, he said something like "you've helped me realize I don't want to live the gospel anymore." He explained some things that put ache into my soul. This was a time I wasn't happy for my super power. Sure it wasn't because of me that he had those desires, but I can't help but wonder if our less-than-ideal interaction wasn't impetus for his realization. If it was what he truly desired to do, sooner or later it would have manifested itself in his life. Probably. Perhaps he could have kept going through the motions long enough to realize the benefit in christlike living, but instead I interfered and made things happen faster in his life than they should have. Who knows. I apologized for anything I could claim responsibility for and left him not a bit better than I found him. Maybe.
3) A male who wasn't a boyfriend but who perhaps would have like to have been. He is a quiet sort and he went out of his comfort zone to get to know me and ask me out. I agreed to see if I could be interested as I got to know him better, but ultimately I didn't feel like a good match for him/him for me. And he didn't go away without aches of his own, but he later told me I was impetus in showing him what things within himself needed attention. He would say I did leave him better than I found him. Not that I've "left" him—he's still my friend; I just don't want to think up a different way of saying "leave it better than you found it."
It's just my general Mary Poppinsy desire to help people get to the honest roots within themselves. I know personally honesty with myself is what has set me free. Maybe this power is what makes me a good editor, too. I try not to use my editing powers on people (people are too complex for there to be "grammatically correct" way to live), but when I see the lies, I don't indulge them. Sorry if you ever encounter this power at a time when all you'd rather want is a hug. I really do need to attach hug powers to the end of my "don't take no crap" powers.
Truth sets free by nature. So I look at myself with a truthoscope and pluck out the lies; apparently I help others do the same. Not always, but quite often, if they get close enough. I've decided overall it's a good thing, if not always immediately, then ultimately. Because the truth will always taste better than crap.
The bucket dipped in an impure well will only offer impure water. Fire will destroy whatever cannot endure it, or will refine what is stronger than it. A diagnosis offers impetus to find a cure. Without the truth we will crumple in weakness. Don't take that untrue crap from yourself or anyone else. Draw from true super powers, wherever they're found, and become your best and true self.