Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Loving & Forgiving Yourself
I have found through the years that we often make comments like, "I have to forgive myself,” or "If I don't learn to love myself than I can't love others." Such comments seem to underscore the need for us to treat ourselves in a certain way that will foster change in our behavior. Thus, we make ourselves central to the process of change. If we can somehow keep telling ourselves we are loveable enough or forgivable enough than we will behave or feel better. Such a belief makes us the savior and redeemer. We actually don't have the capability to love ourselves enough or the authority to forgive ourselves. What is better is to keep growing the humility to accept God's (and other's) forgiveness even if we think we don't deserve it (we don't it’s a gift). In addition, we have to grow in accepting God's (and other's) love even though that tends to offend our desire for control and our pride that tells us that we can be our own savior. Truth be told the vulnerability of accepting help from outside ourselves makes us kinder and humbler people than thinking we can (and should) somehow be the one who brings change in our life. Such a truth kind of ruins other popular sayings like, "I can't change or control anyone all I can do is change or control myself." We can't change or control ourselves either. At the end of the day vulnerability defines our condition. As we accept our vulnerability and the love and forgiveness of God that can be the conduit of change in our life than we move in much better directions. In addition, learning to accept God's kindness helps us to accept ourselves. Self acceptance, or becoming comfortable in our own shoes, is a much better idea than learning to love or forgive ourselves. Growing self acceptance through relationship with the Lord is a much healthier and life-giving path than learning to love or forgive ourselves in our own strength. The path of self-reliance always leads to rigidity, a lack of love and self-righteousness whether or not it is recognizable as we walk down that path.