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Pondering... Love Thyself

 In this week's Pondering With A Purpose, Brenda asks, Do you love yourself? A seemingly easy question, but the answer is more complicated.  It is well known that if you ask most people to list their weaknesses and faults, they can go on at length, citing trait after trait they dislike about themselves; but if you ask them to list their strengths and assets, they  mumble and fumble and seem almost embarrassed to suggest two or three things they maybe do well, or are ok with about themselves.  Rather sad if you think about it.  
 
Why is that, how do so many people grow up to underestimate their worth as human beings?  Part of the blame undoubtedly lies with the messages we receive as children from parents, teachers, clergy, peers, and others in our lives.  Messages that told us we weren't smart enough or good enough, unimportant and sometimes unwanted. Messages that led us to believe the problems in our homes were our fault, messages that weigh heavily on our impressionable young minds and tender hearts.
 
As we grow older, we discover that there are some things we do better than others, and in fact some things we are good at.  Hopefully, we will encounter individuals who will encourage our interests and talents and help build our confidence in our abilities.  Even more important are those who instill a sense of self-worth in us, and who guide us in learning to navigate life on our own terms to successfully achieve our goals and dreams. Blessed are those who teach us we are responsible for our lives, and that we have not only the power and right, but the obligation to direct what becomes of us.
 
Once we reach adulthood, it can be easy to blame our upbringing for our failures now.  While it's true that what happened during our formative years has a powerful impact, it isn't a life sentence.  Each and every one of us has within us the ability to rewrite the script of our lives, to overwrite the negative messages that replay in our brains every time we try something and aren't instantly successful, or are afraid to even try.  Focus on the things you can do, and add small steps, one after another to build in the direction you want your life to go.  Above all, don't give up on yourself!
 
It took me many years of adulthood, well into midlife, to adjust my attitude to be in harmony with what it says at the top of this post.  We need to stop judging and condemning ourselves, we need to stop hating ourselves for whatever perceived shortcomings and failures we think we have.  We need to be willing to revisit the mirror for a closer look not only at what we do have and what we do right, but also in the light of our potential, to see in ourselves the spirit of love and light we all are endowed with, and to realize that we have the ability to  make a contribution to the world that is uniquely our own.
 
I haven't always loved myself, and I am still filled with imperfections, some obvious and some known only to me, but I believe that I'm a decent, caring person, that I have integrity and a fair understanding of human nature and life, that I have acquired a bit of hard-earned wisdom along the way, and that I have not only the ability but the responsibility to reach out to and encourage others.  I may not be all I'd like to be on the outside, but inside I've grown to like the person that I am.  Today I can honestly answer yes, I do love me now!  It's important for you to love yourself too, find your own sense of awesomeness! :-) 
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~  
I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
where this week's writing prompt is "love thyself"
 

6 comments:

  1. so great that you say "not a life sentence". it's so true. I mean, certainly it can be hard to overcome things from your past, but I'd like to think that we get to contribute a few pages to our story. I'd certainly like to think that I have a few blank pages yet. I love that idea.

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    1. I gree Rory, while we cannot change the past, what we choose to do with it IS up to us. I think we all know people who allow their lives to be crippled by childhood experience, and those who have chosen to fight against the damage, rise above it, and go on to become wonderful, productive, happy human beings. My husband is an outstanding example of this!

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  2. Josie... this is a wonderful post... I love the saying at the top. It is a shame that we were programmed in the negative and not the positive... hopefully I changed that going forward with my own kids :)

    Thanks forr pondering with me!

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    1. Without a conscious effort, we tend to parent in the way we were parented, and that includes negative or positive reinforcement. Time and time again we see what a difference it makes for a child who is raised to believe in themselves. It should be a required pre-parenting class! Because we knew what it felt like to not see that kind of affirmation as children, I too believe that we tried harder with our kids to make sure they knew they were loved, appreciated, and believed to be capable... and in short, to love themselves. Thanks for the great pondering topic, Brenda!

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  3. Darn you. Im going to attempt a reply from my phone.

    I love me some me. Always have, even when I was a shy kid. Many in our society find my level of self love to be a bad thing. Apparently I should hate myself as much as they seem to. Thing is, if there is something about myself I'm unhappy with, I change it.

    It never ceases to amaze me just how many wonderful people seem to consider themselves worthless.

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    1. You do have an amazing sense of self worth/confidence Monkey, and it's served you well. I wish we could bottle that and sell it! Imagine a world where everyone realized their own value, and acted accordingly. Sure would shut down that victim mentality, wouldn't it?! Loving yourself is not bad, it's good. Being obsessed with yourself to the point that you fail to appreciate the other people in your life, now that's an issue, but that is clearly not you! We can love ourselves and genuinely love others as well, maybe even moreso because we have taken away the need to have our self-worth affirmed by them.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)