I realized yesterday in a conversation with Josh that something deep in me is not necessarily in everyone.
I want everyone to think I'm perfect. It upsets me when people see my faults, and it devastates me when people don't like me. I try to hide my faults and mistakes from Josh as much as possible because i think the more bad qualities he sees in me, the less he'll love me.
I told him this yesterday. I said, "Don't you feel that way?" He said no.
What I realized through the rest of our conversation is that I base so much of my confidence on being "perfect" and being likeable to everyone that when I am criticized, I receive it as a criticism of who I am, my whole identity, instead of a criticism of a behavior I can change.
Josh said, "I am a confident person. When you don't like something I do, I know I can change it."
This isn't how my brain works. I said, if you're a confident person, why are you so willing to change?
He said, "because my confidence isn't in my behaviors. Those aren't who I am." Then he explained it this way, which has been simmering in my head for the last 24 hours:
It's like with our salvation. Christ loves us. We're His. But we don't become His and then never change. We're called to be imitators of Christ. Christ was humble, yet He was perfect. We aren't perfect at all, so we need to be humble and then be willing to change to be like Him. Admitting fault is not the same as admitting worthlessness.
This idea of Christ embracing humility in spite of His perfection is in Philippians 2:3-11.
I think this is a big key to being a good apologizer that I've been missing. Admitting that you're wrong and apologizing is not admitting that you're worthless. It is having enough confidence in what is right that you are willing to change the things that are wrong.
It's not being afraid of being wrong, because you truly want to do what's right, not just "be right" in your mind. It's imitating Christ, not trying to be perfect on your own.
This is going to take a lot of practice for me to internalize. But I feel a little refreshed that I can strive for humility and openness instead of perfection.