There is a pervasive devaluing of human life throughout the world. In business, the bottom line is more likely to supersede and employees or consumers needs. Children are abused. Women are abused. Seniors are neglected and ignored. Countries kill their own citizens. There is war over oil or oppression. Why?I think it is a control issue. “If I can control you, I feel better, more powerful…” There is also a scarcity issue going on. None of us believes that there is enough to go around. I have to have all the toys and you can’t have any. That isn’t working anymore.
Here is how this worked out for me. You may resonate.
The Catholic Church has the doctrine of Original Sin. Basically that says everybody is born with this original sin and that we all must be baptized in order to be saved and get into heaven when we die. They also believe that if you are not baptized you can not get into heaven. Basically we are all evil. Really? Come on…
My teachers believed that. They wanted to make us (students) into morale people. Those teachings were drilled into us. Everything was based on a punishment system, school and home. You were afraid to breathe.
This perspective is controlling and fear based. I believed that I would have to fast and flog myself my entire life, and maybe I could eek into purgatory when I died. Purgatory is a holding place that you go when die if you have sin but not serious sin. You could be in purgatory for years and years, but at least it wasn’t hell.
From this perspective there is no way that you could talk to God. You had to go to the priest to intercede for you.
Then comes theologian Matthew Fox. He has written many books but the one I am referring to is Original Blessing. I read this book, oh, twenty five years ago. As I read it, my heart sang. I know it is the truth. It changed my perspective forever.
I will paraphrase this as I understand it. We do have some original distortion. It may be the original forgetting that has to happen in order for us to learn the lessons we came to learn. But we/the church has erroneously made the focus on this distortion.
Fox suggests that we come in with a far greater “original blessing”. We should be focused on our greatness and blessing. We are not evil. Each of us is a spark of the Divine.
Can you see the Love and Fear in each of these teachings? Can you feel the constriction of the doctrine of original sin? Can you feel the expansiveness in the teaching of living from our “original blessing?”
I was immersed in the catholic teachings. So I felt that I was bad and evil. In the catholic school as well as growing up in an alcoholic home, there was no room for “mistakes”. Mistakes were treated as mortal sins (serious sin). If you made a mistake, then bad and evil and beyond saving.
Now who among us, doesn’t make mistakes? You have to make mistakes so you can learn. Trial and error. Try something, make a mistake. Step back and see what worked, what didn’t work and changes you can make. Mistakes should be a learning tool.
In the world I grew up in (as I interpreted it), mistakes were to be feared. Only perfection qualified. Given my learning disabilities, I failed a lot. I learned about guilt, humiliation and shame. And I hated myself for it all. I internalize all the comments that adults and fellow students told me.
It has taken a long time to get a modicum of self love. How do I do this self love thing (as it is an ongoing process)?
Well, first you have to stop the self deprecating thoughts. When you think… “I am stupid” you have to stop. Say “Cancel”. Then say something loving about yourself. “I have beautiful eyes.”
In meditation I sit with the Divine giving and receiving love. It has to be both giving and receiving. If you can’t receive, you can’t give. That is Law. I also sit with sending love to myself then out to all. That look like this: I time it with my breath. On the IN Breath, breathe in Love, filling my body and my life. I say “I love me!”. On the OUT Breath, I breathe out love to all in my life past, present and future and then to all beings.
When I catch myself in the negative chatter, I stop. I think of something that I feel gratitude for and open my heart. Then I can be more loving to myself. The more loving and compassionate I am to me, the more loving and compassionate I can be to others.
Different cultures will have a different spin on this one. Self hatred can come from many things. I would love to know where you experience self hatred in your life, where you think it may came from and what you are doing about it.