I recently read Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani and after I read the book I felt elated and light as though I was walking three feet in the air. Joy is the helium of the soul! This particular joyful feeling came from eliminating what was holding me down: self-judgment. It was an alien feeling to recognize the essence of who I am, and maybe for the first time feel a love for myself. In my Baptist roots, I was told I was unworthy and ‘as a filthy rag’ to God. That was easy to relate with as I indeed felt that was a perfect description of me, myself and I; the unholy trinity. Once I was working with a man who boasted that his daughter came to him one day and said that she realized how unworthy she was. He was so very proud! Sitting there. listening to this, I was sickened in my heart because I knew that feeling and I wanted to run and find her and tell her how worthy she really is to God, and save her the agony of self-loathing. I imagined her dad and Jesus in the same corner of her mind telling her to take her beating in life because she deserved nothing more. I always questioned the logic in being unworthy yet worthy of a death on the cross, or of our Maker numbering the hairs on my head. My filthy rags end up in the trash. Sigh.
One of the lines I used to lighten my load was to tell people that I prayed to Jesus to stop all the persecutions in my life because I had enough character! If trials build character, I was bigger than life! Alright already!
Moorjani’s words were read at the right time. Nothing in my life has ever been revealed without some kind of preparatory excavation. True, sometimes revelations have come to me with little digging, but I have learned the heart and soul have to be ready for divine planting. Yes, hard hearts are cold and dry and truth ricochets off it like a be-bee on a wall. Thus, character is born, pocked with myriad be-bee marks! I got her message. I really understood the energy and beauty behind her book! Could I have had a breakthrough in my quest to love myself? And, was it okay to love myself? Paying attention to all that I said to myself and the thoughts that ran amuck in my mind, I realized I was my own enemy number one.
How could I expect others to recognize I was a good person if I didn’t recognize it? I felt I was introduced to this wonderful woman who has a great heart, a desire to help others and a fun spirit. Finally, I met my best friend! She was with me all this time! She was me!
For the next few days after my satori I smiled a lot. I mean, a lot! I noticed when I spoke to people they responded to me I imagine in the way I was interacting with them…with love. It was awesome during this honeymoon stage of loving myself. I just KNEW I was full of all of this love and I just wanted to share moments with others, intermingle with other souls. Spiritually hug everyone I came into contact with because actually hugging everyone may not have worked as well! “Hello, state hospital, we have someone here who needs a straight-jacket.” When I was at my highest, I truly had pulsing joy. It felt clean, healing, pure. In this state I was able to love others with no roadblocks. My heart was opened and unlike a hardened heart, absorbed the nutritious smiles and love of others in a way I had not experienced before.
The book did not do this TO me, I was ready. I had set my body and mind in motion for years to understand what it meant to really love myself, being it seemed the answer to so many of my dilemmas. I was ready to hear it and be it. Like road construction, I had worked to pave my way starting from a place where there was once no trail, onto the highway of understanding. I could now proceed with my life at higher speeds! Love myself? Check. Love others? Check. Where did this love come from? God? Check!
Why the past tense? I WAS in such a joyous state and it did last for days. I have not fallen backward but life is life and when I am at work or making dinner ,joy maintenance is on hold. I am still learning, still growing, still traveling forward. I have to consciously put my judgmental thoughts away. I am much more aware of them now, and they are really ugly and hurtful and mean. I was the ultimate mean-girl to myself! It is a really hard task to pay attention to all the dark things we say to ourselves, but this task is necessary. I wonder, if while reading this you said a few choice things about me or you that surprised yourself? Recognition is an ingredient in the recipe for self-love. Once you have it, judgement and vicious attacks on yourself and others subside. It is a much easier way to live.
Recently, in an attempt to hurt me, a person said, “No one here likes you,” Well, I knew they were lieing. It was astonishing to me that they felt that spewing out this hatred would effect me. As I looked into their eyes, I noticed how blank they were. Steely. Black. Sick. I remember taking in a breath and releasing my tension. This is where sickness is born. These vile words lived in their owner and I am sure they are brewing up nothing good. The words had no power over me. Man, I wished I could have helped them see how what they were doing was not hurting me at all, but hurting them! Remember the hard heart with be-bee marks?
If your challenge is loving yourself, keep excavating. I wish it was as easy as waking up one day and making that choice to love. Maybe that is our biggest job as parents, to teach our children this trick and you know you have taught them right when they easily love and respect others.
Is 52 a bit old to finally get the message? Am I a late bloomer? Maybe, but at least I bloomed! And I am a perennial!