Loving Others as Our Self

Jesus made a point of telling us to love others as we love our self. Most of us despise our self, have grudges and disappointments and unforgiveness toward our self. We do not love our self at all (Mark 12:30-31).

Therefore, how can we truly love anyone else? We compare our self to worldly standards and find our self lacking. We listen to significant others in our life and adopt their opinion of us, even if it is negative.

We try all of our life to earn the unconditional love, respect, worth and affirmation we so desperately need. We sell our self short and give up on our self. We feel useless, hopeless, helpless and unlovable.

We are not powerful enough, rich enough, adorable enough, smart enough, talented enough, or attractive enough; we are not enough. We see our self through the eyes of others and we feel disappointed and ashamed.

However, God wants us to see our self through His eyes – as a person He cares about so much that He gave His life for us. He wants us to love our self as He loves us, and then to love others as we love our self.

We can start by accepting our self as He accepts us, just the way we are. We can make better, healthier, wiser and more nurturing choices. We can speak only kind, loving words to and about our self and others.

We can take care of our body, soul and spirit. We can accept our feelings and seek God to find resolutions for our negative feelings and unresolved conflicts. We can judge our self only through the eyes of God, not the eyes of the world.

We can stop using addictions, people, vocation and talents to make us feel better about our self. We can stop abandoning our self and taking our self and others for granted. We can stay in touch with who we are, what we need and how God is leading us all throughout our day.

Prayer:
Father God, enlighten the eyes of our understanding to see our self as You see us: as Your adopted children, co-heirs with Christ of Your entire Kingdom. Remind us to pay attention to our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental needs and to seek You on how to fulfill them.

Help us to accept our feelings and circumstances, even the negative ones, as Your tool in our life to bring us closer to total surrender to Your will and to keep us from depending on our human resources and understanding. Give us Your peace and joy as our strength. Remind us that without You we are nothing; but with You, all things are possible if we simply believe (John 15:5; Mark 9:23).

Thought for the Day:
Take the time throughout the day for a personal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual inventory; meet your needs or ask God to meet them; and then give yourself time to renew Your strength in the Lord and to rise up on wings like eagles. – Isaiah 40:31

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Understanding Emotions

God gave us emotions to express our self and the mood we are experiencing at any given moment. They are an important part of our soul, which includes our intellect, emotions and choices. Each emotion has many variations of intensity and nuances of feeling, such as annoyed, angry and enraged. We often think that we are too vulnerable when we express our true feelings, so we hide behind masks, which help us to pretend.

We suppress our feelings in an attempt to be patient and to get along with people, trying not to nag or to complain. Once our patience runs out, however, this usually compounds the problem due to a rise in the intensity of our feelings. Prior to the point of frustration and anger, it helps if we will calmly express how someone’s negative behavior or words are affecting us and making us feel. No one is perfect, and we all have value and worth.

As we take frequent stock of our emotions, we get a clue as to how we are really doing in that moment of time. If we are not being treated properly, our emotions give us a clue that this abusive behavior is not acceptable. Our underlying thoughts fuel our behavior. We simply need to get alone and take the time to journal or to think, in order to get in touch with how we really feel at the core of our soul.

Sometimes, following the roadmap that emotions give us leads us back to the disturbing incidents in our past, which still affect us today. Then, once we understand the cause of our emotions, it is much easier to explain to others how we really feel. Their offensive behavior may be just a misunderstanding, or a lack of discernment or manners on the part of the other person. That is why relationships work out better if we express how we really feel before our soul hides behind a mask.

If the other person sees no problem with their words or behavior, or if they consistently disregard our needs, we can erect boundaries to protect our soul from their painful words and behavior. Putting distance between them and us, or changing our focus about how their actions, opinions or beliefs affect us, will ensure that our heart is not constantly bombarded by their insensitivity and callous behavior.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to choose our words carefully and to speak up when we are violated by another person’s words or actions. Help us to change our focus about their behavior, so that we can maintain the relationship without severing the unity between us. When the whole world misunderstands or criticizes us, You are holding out Your arms, ready to pour out Your love and grace on us in our time of need. We can unburden our heart to You, sharing with You our deepest feelings without any fear of censure or ridicule.

Thought for the Day:
We can pay attention the red flags that our negative emotions give us and use our words to express how we really feel before we let our emotions dictate our behavior.