Love of self
There are reasons that Christ calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves, which is something often forgotten by those on the path. There is a false sense of humility, of which I fall into, that goes directly against this commandment of Christ. How I think I can love others but still hold pockets of contempt and little regard for myself is something I am still trying to work through. For if truth be told, I am often the least that Christ identifies with, therefore I am called upon to minister to that. How? Well I think despair, despondency, wanting to give up; are counter to the virtue of humility. There is nothing humble by being angry at myself because I am not strong, or perfect, since the truth is that I am indeed in need of God’s compassion and mercy, that is what being a sinner is all about.
Being a sinner means that there is a level responsibility that I can take for my life, own up to it, and simply continue on my journey towards the light. Neurotic guilt is a waste of time, though it can be difficult to overcome; this form of self centeredness. Real guilt, over real sin, leads to deeper insight and helps in the conversion process. Guilt of the neurotic kind, just leads me in circles, like a dog chasing his tail. I sin, I fall, and I get up and move on. Or I sin, I fall and then I wallow in self pity and castigate myself because I am not perfect, or I can’t make myself perfect. Best to trust in infinite mercy, than to try to somehow keep oneself from failing on the road upwards, for it will happen. For the road to true freedom is arduous, no need to add the burden of a lack of trust in God’s love for each and every one of us.
The paradox of leading a spiritual life is the deeper one goes the more that is seen. For the more light that is shown, the less that can be hidden; defenses drop. So the truth, which really does set us free, can be seen according to ones ability to perceive. Humility is the ability to see it all without becoming overwhelmed with dejection, for humility is based on truth. It also dictates that love upholds us, and the light is there for our own good, so it takes courage and yes, I guess I could use the word ‘self esteem’, to truly grow in the humbleness. To truly allow oneself to be led by grace, deeper into the relationship God is calling us all to.
Failure is an important part of any path, for that is how learning is accomplished. It is when wisdom is not garnered from life’s lessons that the trouble starts. Again, love of self is the only way that true wisdom can be won. For again, Jesus said; “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Again being a sinner points to freedom, for without freedom there is no sin (that is called compulsion), which leads to hope and trust in the ongoing mystery of life.
We are not as free as we perhaps suppose, yet that freedom grows with trust in God and in letting go of self hatred and contempt. The main lesson to learn, of which I am still a novice at, is when weakness is felt, then it is time to “let go and let God”, as the saying goes. It is just not a cliché, but an actual truth. So fall, get up and perhaps fall again….. Well so be it, just love self enough to continue on the slow rocky road to union with Divine Love, that in the end make all things work out for the good; no matter how dark things seem. Now that is humility, the acceptance of that, truth that truly flows from the heart, watered by the free gift of God’s grace.