Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Prove You Love Yourself!

One of my memories is that of my nephew as a toddler clinging to his mother’s leg and saying, “I need some loving.” She responded by picking him and hugging him. All of us need loving. The primary human being we need love from is us. Loving ourselves is not a sin. In fact, Jesus implicitly expects us to do so when he states the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Why Love Yourself?

You are a magnificent creature, made in God’s image and likeness. You have talents and marvelous features like an opposable thumb, a heart that beats at least 86,000 times a day, and a mind that can solve a sudoku puzzle (maybe). You are unique and destined for immortality. God loves you as the apple of his eye (whatever that is). He even took on flesh and bones and died for you. If you are worthy of such divine love, surely you can love yourself!

What Is Love?

To love someone is to will the best for that person. When you love someone, you try to please them, care for them, think well of them, support them, and give them joy. These characteristics hold true for loving yourself.

How Do You Love Yourself?

Here are some practical ways to be your own best friend:

1.   Take care of yourself. Make your well-being, body and soul, the top priority. The fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” has a corollary: “Thou shalt not harm oneself.” Self-care involves staying healthy by eating the right foods and in the right amounts, sleeping enough, exercising daily at least by walking, and avoiding too much alcohol and drugs. Self-care also means safeguarding mental health: letting go of grudges and anger, staying clear of stress, and seeking professional help when needed.

2.  Be kind to yourself. Show compassion for your failings and forgive yourself. God does. Don’t judge or criticize yourself or harbor shame or guilt. No one is perfect except Jesus and Mary. Avoid negative thoughts about yourself. Tune out that voice in your head that says things like “How can you be so stupid?” or “No wonder no one likes you” or “You’re so lazy.”

3.  Carve out “me time” without feeling guilty. Do something you enjoy: read a historical romance, listen to music, watch a Hallmark movie, crochet, bake chocolate chip cookies, call (don’t email) a friend, dance, look at old photos that bring up pleasant memories, work a crossword puzzle or put together a jigsaw puzzle. Play! Go outside to be rejuvenated so you breathe the fresh air and feel the sun on your skin. Walk in the woods alone or with someone. Watch a sunrise or sunset in silence.

4. Spend time with people who bring you joy. These are the ones who accept you for who you are and make you laugh.

5.  Give self-affirmations. Be your own cheerleader and say things to yourself like “I’m proud of you,” “Good going!” “You’re making progress,” “Hey, your hair turned out good today.”

Celebrate and reward yourself for achieving a goal or at least making a valiant effort.

8.  Surround yourself at home with things that bring you joy. Pictured is the needlepoint picture my sister made me for my twenty-fifth jubilee. It’s on my bedroom wall. Clearing up clutter will lift your spirits too.

6.  Protect yourself. Don’t be afraid to say no. Be assertive. Don’t let others take advantage of you.

Stop comparing yourself to others or competing with them.

Don’t try to be perfect. You won’t be. And don’t be a people pleaser. You can’t please everyone anyway. As a friend remarked, “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” It doesn’t really matter what others think of you. What matters is what you think of yourself.

7.  Ask for help when you could use it. You are not wonder woman or superman. I used to tell my elderly mother, “Letting others do an act of charity for you is an act of charity.”

9. Focus on what you are grateful for. You might think your ears are too big, but, my, look at your beautiful eyes! Thank God.

At the end of each day think of one lovely thing that happened. You might be surprised. Yesterday one of our employees shared with me his excitement at finding a tiny book of Mass readings far back in a cabinet in his mother’s house. It had the last name of one of our Sisters in it. Another employee took me one evening to see how gorgeous our Christmas tree looked, doubled in its reflection in the window. On Sunday while I played the piano, a little girl whose front teeth were just emerging came over with a folded copy of “Silent Night.” She had been begging for someone to play it, and I happened to be there.

10.  Pamper yourself. Soak in the tub, get a manicure, buy your favorite candy, use the fragrant hand lotion or soap you’ve been saving, get your hair done, buy flowers and set them where you can enjoy them, splurge on a new dress or suit.

11.  Stay positive. If you walk over a board on the floor and think you will fall, chances are you will. Don’t assume that the worst will happen. If it does, examine it for some good effect. There may be more than one. For example, after a natural disaster, largehearted responders and charitable organizations appear. Victims help one another and, undaunted, pledge to rebuild.

Think about those people who loved and supported you in the past and those who do so now.

Don’t complain to others. Venting increases your distress.

Make a list of your positive traits to fall in love with yourself.

12.  Learn something new, maybe a foreign language or how to play an instrument or pickleball or how to sew. Try a new recipe.

13.  Accept what you can’t change. This will protect you from sadness, frustration, and stress.

While I was viewing something on YouTube, a different video popped up. It is a moving, inspiring story of the origin of the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.” Hugh Bonneville (of Downton Abbey fame) narrates the story while actors perform it. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings the hymn. You will find the video here. I think you will like it.

• What do you think about yourself?  What do you feel about yourself?

• What is one loving thing you can do for yourself today?

2 Responses

  1. WOW, that’s a lot to think about. I need to read one of your suggestions every day!!! How did you come up with so many. I guess by the gifted writer you are.
    Thanks for your thoughts & blog Sister

    1. You’re welcome, Sue. That post took much thought and help from the Holy Spirit and the Internet! Merry Christmas!

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