Fully and Freely
I’m in a constant state of learning how to love myself.
I say this because I’ve kept up with an on-and-off tradition of writing letters to myself since my twenty-fourth birthday (two years ago). Instead of journaling, I collect cute notes and postcards when I see them and later, I write about events, thoughts, emotions – anything really. It’s often a “whatever’s top of mind” kind of situation.
I’ve written myself letters about heartbreak and hardships. I’ve narrated events, and even made plans in some of these letters. All of this is important, but in these letters I have, one crucial thing is missing. In these letters to myself, I don’t write down one single positive affirmation.
Now, if you know me personally, you’d know I’m quick to give out a compliment (hello, top love language being words of affirmation). This would lead to my first question. Why do I hesitate to give love and praise to myself in the privacy of pen and paper? The obvious block here is that I’m not capable of letting myself love myself. The answer as to why lies between the lines of the letters that I’ve written to myself over the last two years.
I find it hard to love myself because I didn’t feel like I was good at my first job out of college. I find it hard to love myself because I’ve not been in a relationship as an adult. I find it hard to love myself because friends have left me out of things. I find it hard to love myself because my jeans size has gone up in the last year. I find it hard to love myself when I realize I’ve let someone take advantage of my kindness. I find it hard to love myself because friendships have fizzled out or changed. I find it hard to love myself when I don’t get a promotion at work. The long story short here is: I like finding reasons to find it hard to love myself.
Society today doesn’t make it much easier – in fact, I think a lot of the things aimed at women are meant to make us insecure so that we’ll buy their “solution.” Not pretty enough? Makeup, surgery, camera filters that change your face shape. Not skinny enough? Diets, pills, teas, and worse. Not popular enough? Buy followers on Instagram, join all of these clubs, build up your personal brand. Not successful enough? Work on the weekends, get a side hustle, read these books on how to become an entrepreneur. These things are constantly thrown in our faces, and we’re told if we just do all of them, we’ll be happy and fulfilled, and when that doesn’t work – well, there’s always the next TikTok trend you can jump on. And the vicious cycle continues.
I’m not saying all of these things are inherently bad (okay, some of them definitely are). However, it is bad when our self-worth and value depend on being pretty, skinny, popular, successful, and the other things we’re told will make us happy.
So if all of these things aren’t going to make us happy, and won’t give us true value or self-worth, what will?
It’s one of the first things that we are taught as Christian. We have value because God loves us.
Now, I’ll call myself out on this one: it’s really hard to remember that inherent value we have when the first thing I’m seeing in the morning is a celebrity promoting a new skinny tea on social media. If my instinct were to open up my preferred Bible app in the morning (or even a physical Bible), those lessons I was taught in Sunday school might actually be more like lessons I learned. Instead of being in a constant state of learning to love myself, I could be seeking to better love others.
I’d also probably be speaking to myself a little more lovingly in that previous paragraph if I opened my Bible a bit more than I do now.
This next bit of wisdom isn’t my own, but instead of repeating what my parish’s priest shared in his homily this past weekend, I thought it might be beneficial to take what he said and put it into practice of speaking lovingly to my (and your) true worth.
God loves me fully and freely, no matter what.
I was created specifically and uniquely by God for no greater reason than that He loves me and wants me to exist.
God knew me and loved me before I even existed.
God loves me fully because he knows me, and he knows me fully because he loves me.
I didn’t have to do anything to earn God’s love. He just does.
There is nothing I can do that will make God stop loving me.
God loves you so much. I hope this helps you as much as it’s helped me begin to understand my value. Now, go unfollow those accounts that make you feel less valued than you are. Maybe in doing that, we can open up more areas for God to communicate his love to us.
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was raised in small-town Alabama and grew up dreaming about grand adventures. She’s now taken on cities around the globe (Grenoble, France and San Francisco), and created her own world through The Laskar Series. She works for a company that’s changing the financial services industry for the better.