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By being yourself you put something wonderful into the world that was not there

“You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

Louise Hay, quoted in Guideposts Magazine, July 2014

Some say we are our own worst critics, that we speak to ourselves in ways that wouldn’t be allowed in civilized society if we spoke to others that way. Somehow, our culture got the idea that our children wouldn’t turn out to be good people if we didn’t humiliate and browbeat them enough. Now, whenever I make a mistake or do something clumsy, I insult myself.

I think my derogatory self-talk is well intended. I think I want to try harder to be better, so bad things won’t happen any more. That’s what I was taught. If something bad happens, it must be my fault, and all I need to do is try harder. It didn’t work. Now, in my mature years, I have noticed that criticizing myself hasn’t worked either. It appears that I blamed myself for everything that went wrong.

Children do that, blame themselves. I thought it was natural, but now I think it is the blaming culture we live in. I blamed myself when my father died, when I was 8. I blamed myself when my mother was depressed for a year after her hysterectomy. I blamed myself about my childhood sexual abuse. Many in our culture still support blaming the victim.

I don’t even know where to begin with approving of myself. I guess by explaining things nicely to myself, like I wish people had done when I was young, rather than blaming me and not listening to me.

“God, I am not perfect, in earthly terms, but in your eyes I am perfect. And LOVABLE, and LOVED, and LOVING. I want your LOVE to heal my mind and emotions and body, so I accept myself rather than blaming myself. Help me speak kindly and gently to myself and others. Thank you, God. I love you.”

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