Embracing Your Authentic Self in the Face of Criticism

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At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” ~ Mk 8:33

Today, I’m also using the Gospel, the Gospel of Mark chapter eight, verses 27 to 33.

In this scene, Jesus is talking to his disciples in private and asking, “Hey, what are people saying I am? Who do they think I am? What is happening out there in regards to me?”

He gets different answers. Some are good, some are not. Then he says, I am the promised one, I am the Messiah, the Son of God, or whatever sentence has been used to describe him.

He continues by teaching and sharing some of the things that will happen somewhere along the way. He finishes his teaching and Peter comes in and says, “Hey, are you crazy? Why are you saying you’re gonna get in trouble and you’re gonna get killed for these things? That’s just nuts.”

Jesus rebukes him and says, “Hey, get away from me. Quiet down. You don’t, you are not the one I need right now in my life. You are talking about things that are of this world. I’m from God. And there’s a greater plan. You just don’t get it.”

How I do a lot of these spiritual readings and reflections is to insert myself into the story.

  • What do people think about me?
  • Who do people think I am?
  • Who do they think I am?

I’d explore these questions by compiling answers. The people on social media say this, the people at work say this, the people at home would think I’m like this.

I’d collect all these perspectives and decide to believe them, change the reputation, or control it.

Then I’d enter the stage of stating who I am. I’d claim my space. This is who I am, this is who I want to be here, the things that I want to do, what I like to talk about here, the projects to pursue, the work, the jobs, here’s how I do me.

This is followed by encountering critics.

The critics like Peter jump in and say,

  • what the hell are you joking about?
  • Who are you?
  • What happened to the old Juan?
  • This is not gonna work.
  • That dream’s not gonna work
  • This doesn’t fit.

I’d get all this pushback and it’s decision time.

  • Are they right?
  • Are they wrong?
  • Should I keep trying?
  • Should I know?
  • Is it really not gonna work?

It’s a debate. Similar to Jesus, I can choose to say, “Hey, I hear you. Step away from me. You’re not seeing what I’m seeing. Thank you for the warning. I’m gonna keep going cuz this is who I feel I am. This is who I want to be. So I’m going,

I’ll figure it out.”

It’s not an absolute example. There are always some reasons to hear the warnings or, at least, pay some attention to your critics in some of the things because it can help you come up with ideas.

In the context of this conversation, this decision of claiming who I am comes from a much deeper place within me. It’s not just the external signs, passions, and desires. It’s an intuitive sense of here’s where I want to go, here’s who I think I am, who I think I want to become and I’m just gonna push for it.

The message I received is about learning to claim my space and to have an intuitive mechanism to thank my critics, figure out my life, and continue to be the best I can be.

It’s choosing to go on a personal journey and finding people that can support you.

In peace,


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