Cherishing The Self

“I deserve to rejoice in life, I deserve all the pleasures life has to offer.” This week I realized I don’t fully believe that affirmation. I don’t think I do deserve all the pleasures life has to offer. Because I’m not the president of the United States. Because I’m not famous. Because I’m not someone else. Who am I to get X? Who am I to have all these amazing things happen to me? And wrapped up in not thinking I deserve certain things is self-punishment. Since I’m not perfect, since I’m not someone else, I’m going to punish myself instead:

“Even though I sprained my ankle I think I’ll still walk to work. It’s not that bad.”

“It’s freezing outside, I have all these groceries to carry, but my hotel is only a mile away so I’ll just continue to walk. I need the exercise after all.”

I’ve done both these things (and more) – I’ve walked miles on a sprained ankle. For days. I decided to suffer in the Chicago cold instead of taking a taxi. In each of these experiences I decided something else was more important than me. I didn’t take care of myself because a part of me felt I wasn’t worth it. That I didn’t deserve it. I felt it to such a degree I decided to punish myself instead.

I bring this up because I think a lot of self-punishment masquerades as something else: “I’m being environmental by walking!” “I’m being economical by not taking a taxi!” I ask you, why is money the most important thing? Isn’t my health and well-being more important than money? Don’t I deserve to hail a taxi when it’s cold, to rest my ankle when it’s sprained, and to otherwise treat myself with love?

I haven’t treated myself with love, haven’t cherished myself as much as I could because I’ve been comparing myself to other people. I’ve been saying, “Who am I to have X? I’m nobody special.” And then I worry if I do say I deserve X, it will come across as conceited.

I think about the EFT video I posted a few months ago, “You are magnificent.” In it Brad Yates says discusses this very subject:

“But if I say I’m magnificent, isn’t that conceited? But in fact, isn’t that one of the greatest ways to honor my Creator? What does God really want to hear? ‘I’m sorry God apparently you screwed up with me because I’m not so great.’ Or doesn’t it honor God more to say, ‘I am magnificent. Nice job Creator. You done good.’ And the more I recognize my magnificence the more good I can do. The more good I want to do. My playing small doesn’t serve the world. Part of me thinks that to be a really good person I should think less of myself. I should think less of what I have to offer. That I’m not good enough, that what I have to offer isn’t good enough. And yet I’m grateful for all those magnificent people that didn’t feel that way. Thank God for Gandhi, for Mozart, for Da Vinci, for Martin Luther King Jr., for David Bowie, for all these people who shared their magnificence. I choose to share my magnificence. I am who I am by God’s grace. And I choose to use that grace to great effect. I am magnificent.”

There’s a difference between thinking I am magnificent, that I deserve to rejoice in all the pleasures life has to offer, and being arrogant. I think arrogance hinges on judgment, on ranking, on superiority. There’s a difference between saying, “I am magnificent,” and “I am better than you.” I can think I’m magnificent without declaring any superiority or inferiority.

What I’m learning right now is I can have all the pleasures life has to offer without coming across as conceited. I can treat myself with love, dream big, and achieve my goals without cutting down others. I can accept my good without comparing myself to anyone else. I can accept my good without ranking myself. I can accept my magnificence and let that be completely self-contained.

I dream of a world where we see our magnificence without feeling superior or inferior. Where we allow ourselves to be graced with gifts from God, knowing we completely deserve them. Knowing we are worthy of them. I dream of a world where we treat ourselves with love. Where we cherish ourselves as the divine children of God that we are.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Meet the Author

Rebekah
1 comment… add one
  • C. Dale Oct 13, 2009, 1:10 pm

    I posted the poem on my blog. I will leave it there for a short time. Thanks for the good words.

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