On Loving Myself…

The amount of self-loathing that we seem to have for ourselves as Christians never ceases to break my heart. Our inability to love ourselves may be one of the biggest problems in the Church today. For until we learn to love ourselves as God wants us to, our ability to love others will be limited and deformed.

When we love ourselves, we become less interested in what others think about us and more interested in what God thinks. When we love ourselves, we don’t do things just to get noticed or praised or accepted.

Learn to love yourself. Your ability to love yourself will have a direct impact on your ability to love God and love your neighbor. – Dynamic Catholic

For the longest time my therapist would tell me, you have to learn to love yourself. I thought she was crazy. I’d heard so much throughout my life about self-sacrifice, self-denial, etc. that loving myself seemed selfish. It took me a long time to understand what she meant.

She would urge me to see myself like I saw the little kids I used to nanny, to love myself as I loved them. I remember getting very frustrated and spitting out, “but they don’t know better and I know better.”  She just gave me the look – you know the one.

I read this book by my therapist’s suggestion. Then she had me read it again. It helped me to start understand how I talked to myself, how hard on myself I could be, and how it wasn’t fair.

I started to understand where that came from and how I learned to blame myself for everything. I started to accept that other people in my life weren’t perfect. I started to accept the hurt and to stop the hurt from defining me.

“Know that what happened to you was not okay. And no reason – no story – could ever be good enough to excuse your being discounted, made to doubt what you thought and believed, and forced to deny what you felt. And nothing you ever did made you deserve it.” – The Princess Who Believed in Fairy Tales

And so I’ve learned to love myself. And stop blaming myself. And I’ve learned to see myself as God sees me – even in my moments of greatest weakness and failure. And I’ve learned that not to do so would be to fail to see myself the way God wants me to see myself.

“You have always been good enough to be loved. Not because of what you said or did not say, or what you did or did not do, but simply because you are a child of the universe. The time has come to honor that which you have denounced for most of your life.” – The Princess Who Believed in Fairy Tales

And this is what I want to remember this Christmas, that I am loved as I am. I don’t have to be worthy to enter into that stable. In fact, I never will be worthy. But I am going to marvel in God’s love for me and I will try to love myself the way he loves me.

“We are saved from our loneliness because God is love and He can’t stand to leave us by ourselves, to ourselves.

That is the message of Christmas. The message of Christmas is not that we can make peace. Or that we can make love, make light, make gifts, or make this world save itself.

The message of Christmas is that this world’s a mess and we can never save ourselves from ourselves and we need a Messiah.

For unto us a Child is born.” -Ann Voskamp



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