Connection to Self

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Connection to Self | Healthy confidence and self-worth are fruits of personal integration. The same factors that are essential for connection to God are also essential for connection to self – being known, valued, and open, and having healthy boundaries | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #SufferingConnection to Self

Healthy confidence and self-worth are fruits of personal integration. The same factors that are essential for connection to God are also essential for connection to self – being known, valued, and open, and having healthy boundaries. Ideally, a child experiences being known, valued, accepted, and protected by good and loving parents. When this happens, it’s a natural bridge to having self-knowledge and self-acceptance.

So, why is it important to talk about this? Did we just move from talking about spirituality in the previous section to selfishness and being self-consumed? Not at all! Take a look again at the scripture from Mark 12 at the beginning of this section. The teacher who approached Jesus asked him which law is the most important. Jesus answered his question by also telling him the second most important law: To love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This answer hinges love of neighbor on love of self, revealing that in order to have the former, we must also have the latter.

As we consider loving ourselves, let’s remember what true love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, a passage we might already be familiar with, details the definition of love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

You might be thinking, “That sounds great, but where am I supposed to get all this love to give to others?” The truth is, God who is love dwells within us. First, we must believe it – more and more. Then we can begin to receive it and embrace it, and allow his love to modify our own ways of thinking and flow out from us toward others. Being more deeply formed in God’s mind causes us to continually reform our ways of thinking and behaving until we are eventually thoroughly transformed. That’s holiness, which is the goal of this life for all of us.  It’s not just for clergy and religious. We are all called to be holy.

If we pour a large amount of water into a container, the container will soon begin to overflow, much like we are called to overflow with God’s love for each other. Even if Niagara Falls is poured into a colander, at the end we will still have an empty colander. When we tear ourselves down in our own thoughts or self-talk, we poke colander-like holes in our hearts.  No wonder we feel so empty! When our relationship with our own self is in shambles from our constant criticism, all the helps God wants to give us can’t find a place to hold on. Even forming and maintaining a healthy external relationship becomes nearly impossible when our internal relationship is hurtful. Next thing we know, we hit a rough patch in an external relationship and we begin to wonder where God is in it all.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “What is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.”1 The way we relate to ourselves can be considered our mode. If we don’t believe we are lovable, we won’t be able to believe someone else loves us and their love can’t reach us. For this reason, it is crucial that we make an act of our will and conscious efforts to open to God’s grace so that when he tells us he loves us, we can allow his grace to convince our hearts that it is true. Then we will receive what we can and regard ourselves a little more charitably. He will tell us again, and we will embrace the truth a bit more, and so on. It’s a never-ending cycle; since there’s always more of him and we, with our cracks, tend to be a bit leaky.

It’s essential for us to make a shift in how we choose to relate to ourselves – it is a necessary part of being spiritually and emotionally responsible. Otherwise we are very prone to make the mistake of making God responsible for our emotions when we are the ones making ourselves miserable.  If we constantly send ourselves the message that we’re not lovable, it only stands to reason it will be hard for us to believe he or anyone else could or would love me. Taking on the mind of Christ includes shifting how we think of ourselves to how he regards us.  That is absolutely non-negotiable if we really believe he is God.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll break down the same aspects of connection we considered in connection to the Lord – knowing, valuing, and having healthy boundaries – so we can grow in our ability to fully accept, receive, and embody Jesus’ words and redeeming love for us.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

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