As desperately as I want to love God, and as willing as I am to love others, when the mirror is placed in front of me and I’m staring at myself, I wrinkle my nose and I turn away. I find it easy to love my neighbor – my friends, my family, the person walking down the street – but it’s difficult to love myself.
The truth about me is that I don’t love myself most of the time. I don’t feel worthy of my own love. And if I don’t feel worthy of my own love, how could I possibly feel worthy of someone else’s love? I have internalized words I’ve heard said about me from some time in my past, and these ghostly voices keep speaking to me. I have heard these messages for so long that they are almost like elevator music in my own heart, faintly, continually playing in the background.
And this is detrimental to my desire to serve God, because if I really want to love others, I have to believe that I am loveable. How can I give away something that I don’t really have a grasp on in the first place? How can I tell people how much they are loved if I don’t believe it myself? How hypocritical it is of me to whisper in my friend’s ear that she needs to love herself when I don’t even do it myself! It’s easy to recognize the problem in other people’s lives, but it’s more difficult to look inward and see what the problem is in our own hearts.
This quote from Carl Jung shook me up recently: “What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus, the one who needs your love the most, the one you can help the most by loving, the one to whom your love will be the most meaningful – what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus…is you?”
I need to do for myself what I would do for others, and more importantly, I need to look at myself the way God looks at me. How pompous of me to grade myself on a rubric that is more strict than the one my Lord grades me on! I need to be as loving, compassionate, gracious, and forgiving of myself as God is towards me.
much love. sheth.