Monday, February 29, 2016

Do You Love Yourself?

You shall love—
“love the Eternal One your God with everything you have: 
all your heart, 
all your soul, 
all your strength, 
and all your mind”

—and “love your neighbor as yourself.” 

I've grown up hearing this verse and trying to live it all my life. Sometimes it seemed like this was the one place where we were given permission to "love yourself". But it was usually a slight mention, so it felt a bit self-indulgent to truly think about that part of the verse. It's simply a tag line anyway isn't it? An afterthought?
Picture a lake full of liquid love; a loving yourself kind-of-love. "Please feel free to dip your little toe in it, but don't jump in with both feet because that would mean you are totally self-indulgent."

Doing the "life value" exercise I've been doing feels like going skinny dipping in a lake I've danced around all my life but was too afraid to let myself experience.

I have been given permission to swim unrestrained and let the waters engulf every part of me. What a transforming experience this has been.

Now, I ask you. Do you love yourself? 

And what does loving yourself have to do with loving your neighbor? 

What if you don't really like who you are? 

Does it have an impact on how you love God and others?

Perhaps what I didn't understand was the difference between your beautifully created soul/self and your egotistical self.  I was so afraid of having an ego that I was afraid to even think about "loving yourself". Perhaps I just perceived things through a child's mind and didn't get the whole picture.

I'm beginning to see now that part of the journey of discovering your life values has a lot to do with embracing the beautiful soul you were created to be. As I've gone through this process and have discovered (in a deeper way) who Frances is, it's almost as if all my life I have been auditioning to be Frances Drost but never really got the job because I've never been sure who she was.

"Frances" means "free one". I've never been good at being free. But I'm turning 50 in a couple of months and I'm very excited. I finally feel qualified to be me and there's no better way to celebrate this huge milestone than to turn 50 and embrace the freedom I'm finding.

Part of me wants to throw away all my old clothes - completely rid my closet and drawers of all the old wardrobe and stock it with different (doesn't have to be brand new) just new and different for me. The sole purpose would be to start my new position as "Frances Drost". It would be a symbolic act of shedding the old me and embracing the new. No more black clothes - how about bright blues, pinks and reds??? My budget doesn't allow for that, but I can put on a new attitude.

I think I can finally fill my shoes.  

So in light of all this, I'm wrapping up this segment of life values by sharing mine here. These are certainly a work in progress so it's not like I'm "done". But I have a clearly defined vision of who I am and that is helping to steer everything about my life. I've added action statements to help me stay on track.

1.) Well-being

- a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare:

Because I value well-being:

I will take care of my body by exercising and eating well.
I will take care of my spirit by prayer and scripture meditation.
I will take care of my soul by pursuing soul development through life-long learning and creation, especially as it relates to music and songwriting.

2.) Beauty

- the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

Because I value beauty:

I will do what I can to make my heart beautiful. (scripture and prayer)
I will do what I can to make my body beautiful. (exercise and healthy eating)
I will do what I can to make my soul beautiful.  (learning and creating)

3.) Authenticity

- true to one's own personality, spirit, or character

Because I value authenticity:

I will do all I can to learn who Frances is.
I will do all I can to stay true to who Frances was created to be.
I will do all I can to be authentic in my writing, speaking and living.

4.)  Solitude

- a state or situation in which you are alone usually because you want to be

Because I value solitude:

I will not shy away from my preference to be alone.
I will embrace the understanding that I create best when I am alone and do all I can to make the most of aloneness.

"Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, 
and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless 
until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again." 
God will make this happen, 
for he who calls you is faithful.
I Thessalonians 5:23-24

I ask you again, do you love yourself? Your beautiful self - created in the image of God?

You can start by using the exercises I've mentioned in the previous blog post "Day of Delight". It's a good place to start to get to know who you really are, for how can you love someone you do not know? You could start by researching the meaning of your name.