I Love Me…I Love Me Not
“The way of the miracle-worker is to see all human behavior as one of two things: either love, or a call for love.”
“God remains who He is and always will be: He is the energy; the thought of unconditional love. He cannot think with anger or judgment. He is mercy and compassion and total acceptance. We forgot this, and having done so, we have forgotten who we ourselves are.”
“Love taken seriously is a radical outlook, a major departure from the psychological orientation that rules the world. It is threatening not because it is a small idea, but because it is so terribly huge.”
This is sometimes the ping pong ball of my life, volleying between these two sentiments of I love me and I love me not. I do “good” and I love me and I do “bad” and then, well, not so much. Loving ourselves, however, cannot be a sometime thing or a conditional agreement. It’s easy to love yourself when you behave or are the way that you’ve deemed appropriate, good, or attractive. The real question is whether you can love yourself during the “ugly” moments and when the mistakes are made or when you’ve acted out in the way you promised yourself you wouldn’t anymore. One of the moments when it’s hard to love myself is when I know I’ve said or done something out of anger that has hurt my children. At that moment, there couldn’t be a more punitive and harsh judge than myself. The guilt is beyond what I can bear at those moments and I can go headfirst into self-rejection. In the spiritual and personal growth world there is a lot of talk about unconditional love, and the concept is a beautiful one if we really understand its implications.
The message really is that the Source that created us all, God, loves us whether we are “good” or “bad” and actually has no judgment about these things at all. These are not God made constructs of good and bad, they are man-made constructs that enable us to live within the structure of the physical world. God loves the seemingly worst of us and the seemingly best of us and makes no distinctions among any of us. There is a totality to the love that extends from God because It is loving itself AS us. It is we who create these separations within us of parts of ourselves that are deemed acceptable and parts that are not. We learn it of course as part of our socialization by those who passed it down to us and by the societal structure we live within. Within this paradigm, it would be radical to love yourself despite your flaws or to love yourself even when your weaknesses and dark shadow behavior rear their ugly heads.
We experience a lot of rejection growing up and doing “wrong”. We are told implicitly or explicitly that what we’ve done is very bad and then we are ostracized or punished or belittled in some way as a form of discipline. The message clearly is that this part of us that acts out this way has made us bad and needs to be rejected. When we go back to being good, then we can be included and loved again. Naturally, we grow up to replace those voices of the important ones in our lives with our own rejecting voice. We have internalized their voice and made it our own. Then we become our own judge and jury punishing, berating, and rejecting ourselves.
We must free ourselves from this notion that only when we are good and strong and positive do we deserve love. We must free ourselves from it because it’s crippling and damaging. It furthers the idea of separation from our Divine Source because we believe that someone like us who makes mistakes and has flaws can’t possibly be like God who is perfect. Unconditional love of God has to become our practice within. We practice loving ourselves the way God loves us. In a moment after we’ve done something we are not so proud of or we have not displayed our best self, can we do the radical thing and continue to love ourselves? Can we include all parts of us, light and dark, in our loving? Can we see everything about ourselves clearly and resist the urge to reject any of it or disown any of it? Can we extend compassion to the parts that act up and that can be negative? Can we love ourselves in our weepy, whiny, weak moments when our wounded ego tries to steal the show?
I’m really talking to myself here because lately I find myself in a lot of judgment about so many things I deem unacceptable and that I would like to change about myself. Beating myself up isn’t working so far, so I’m trying on some unconditional love. Seeing if I can continue to love myself when I feel like rejecting all of me because of the parts of me I don’t like. If I don’t practice this level of unconditional love, I will most likely never truly transform those parts of me that act out. Those wounded parts are calling for love and they continue to bleed until I can do what you would do to any wound. When I tend to it, clean it out, be gentle with it, and allow it a little time to heal in a space of love, then I transform a little more. Sometimes those wounds open up again, asking for the same unconditional tending to, until they are completely healed. If I can learn to love myself this way, understanding that all those parts of me that show up, of which I tend to be in judgment, are merely calling for love then I can be my own healer. Further, then I learn naturally how to extend that unconditional love to others and understand with compassion what is asking for love in them.
This blog is my self-therapy and spiritual self-counselor, and I appreciate you sharing in my journey. Here’s to knowing when we commit to this path of inner work, we can pluck the petals of our flowers chanting “I love me, I love me not” and we’ll always end on “I love me.”