Thank God You’re You! Loving Yourself

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on March 13, 2019

in Blogs

Last year after Mass, someone said, “Come with me. You have to meet Father’s sister. She looks just like you.” Did anyone ever tell you, “You look just like my ________________”?  (Fill in the blank.) Maybe we do have a doppelganger or two. But no one will ever be exactly like us, even if we are cloned.  Each one of us is unique, a nonrepeatable combination of physical characteristics, talents, and memories. Each is to be cherished and loved. No wonder Jesus tells us to love others as we love ourselves. He takes it for granted that we love ourselves. And what’s not to love? You may dislike certain aspects of your looks or personality. You may wish you had a voice like Lady Gaga or Andrea Bocelli or could play basketball like LeBron James. But there are many reasons to love yourself.  Let’s count the ways—at least some of them.

  1. You are God’s masterpiece, the culmination of creation. Made in God’s image, you are God’s beloved.
  2. You are a temple of God; God dwells within you. Therefore you are sacred.
  3. You are capable of thinking: solving crossword puzzles and Sudokus, planning the next meal, carrying on a conversation, enjoying a book or a movie, laughing.
  4. You have an amazing body that can walk, swim, sing, behold Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, hear Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, smell and taste fresh-baked bread, and even reproduce. You have eyelashes that protect your eyes; a big toe to give you leverage and balance; and, as I found out, a trapezius muscle that contracts to cause pain and protect your spinal cord when you have a herniated disc in your neck.
  5. You have power to determine the course of your life. You make decisions regarding lifestyle, partner, career, housing, vacations, and so on.
  6. You aren’t perfect, but you certainly can take credit for a number of good deeds.
  7. You have the precious ability to love other people and be loved by them.
  8. Jesus gave his life for you and deigns to come to you in the Eucharist.

The gift of your life, the gift of being, is entrusted to you. You can care for it, both body and soul, or not. You can make the most of the time that is allotted to you on earth by developing your talents and taking opportunities, or you can squander it. No one knows you better than you, except for God. Hope you, like God, know how valuable you are. After all, God thinks you are the apple of his eye.

Loving ourselves to the extreme, being narcissistic, egotistical, self-centered, of course, is wrong. But a healthy love of self is a virtue. How is it manifested? We pay attention to ourselves: We eat properly, exercise, get enough sleep, go to the doctor, make time for leisure, socialize. We also maintain a good relationship with our Creator through prayer and the sacraments. We accept ourselves for who we are—someone in this country, in this century, with certain characteristics, ideals, aspirations, and flaws. Just as we are gentle and understanding with other people we love, we forgive ourselves. We extend mercy and compassion to ourselves.

What can you do to be kind and loving to yourself today? What do you do to “pamper” yourself?

You might pray (or sing?) Psalm 139 slowly and thoughtfully. That’s the one about God knitting us in our mother’s womb.

 

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