Friday, January 5, 2007

I Think: We should remember to love...ourselves

By Mia Black

The funny thing about love is that we always refer to it in reference to someone else. But we never examine it when it comes to loving ourselves. I’ve heard, “Love hurts”, “All is fair in love and whatever”, or “Love will conquer all.” But the truth that I’ve slowly become to see; is that loving me doesn’t hurt, it is fair, and love alone will not conquer all. After being in my marriage for two years and my relationship for six, I’ve recently discovered that I have lost me.

I accept full and total responsibility for the changes I have made to accommodate my relationship/marriage. Some of these changes have come because they are life changes that I wanted to make like, moving from Virginia back to Massachusetts, having two children, and getting married. I wouldn’t take back any of these decisions. They have shaped who I am, and I now know they were part of God’s plan for me.

The one regret I have is that I have chosen my marriage above my all of my own needs. I no longer exist. I have become a wife and a mother. I am either doing for my husband or I am doing for my children, but rarely do I ever do for me. The problem I am encountering is that I now want me back. I’m not saying I want to forfeit my marriage or parental duties, but I know if I’m going to be of any value to my husband and my children, my sense of individualism needs to return.

I am slowly finding myself again by seeking guidance through God. It has not been a simple process and I have slipped and fallen many a times, but to date, he has not steered me wrong. I have begun to love myself again for the first time again in about ten years.

Part of loving myself is accepting me for who I am. Accepting that I am far from perfect, and I don’t have to be. Striving to stop looking and pointing out imperfections in others and begin working on my own. Finally, letting go of trying to control the free will of other.

Rather than allowing these things to consume me, I have surrendered them all to God and allowed him to take over the steering wheel. Now, cannot say that I have not perfected this yet and sometimes I am a backseat driver, but He has placed plenty of angels in my path in the forms of my best friends to keep me on course. They remind constantly that it is a process and to pray and keep my faith, and if I do this everything that is meant to be will come to pass.

God has shown me that I have passed the test of loving others, but I now have to accomplish loving myself. The first step in this journey is to find that individual that was here before marriage and parenthood. The second and final step is to trust that God will take me where I need to go.

What I know about: Not looking back

By Jennifer Texada

On my somewhat long list of resolutions having to do with health, wealth and organization there is one that stands out

"In 2007 I will move forward and not look back"

In truly examining how I was going to do this I realized, to truly move forward without looking back I think you have to forgive yourself for your actions of the past, truly forgive the people who have caused you pain and learn to be grateful for the lessons you learned and use those lessons to direct your forward path.

The biggest obstacle to moving forward is forgiveness. Forgiving yourself, and truly forgiving the people in your life that you feel have caused you pain. You can't cast blame and move forward at the same time.

If you have done something that has been of detriment to your progress, acknowledge it, pray on it, and let it go. It is over. Re-living and obsessing over it is not going to un-ring the bell. Take the lesson from it. Be grateful that in this stage of your life you have learned such a profound lesson that is SO important to your growth and… keep it moving.

The same rings true for forgiveness outside of yourself. To me, anger and grudges are like stepping in crap. Half the time you don’t even notice you have done it until it’s too late. Then you’d better wipe it clean quickly or you are going to hold on to it wherever you go, and once it gets dried up there is always a little stuck in the crevices.

People often ask, how I can remain friends with people who have treated me pretty poorly in the past. Sure, I get mad at people, but it never lasts long, I have no motivation for carrying negative energy around with me. It is heavy and it makes me feel awful. Anger is an emotion, like any emotion, it comes and passes. At the end of my anger I try to find gratitude for the lesson learned through this person or event. People move through your life for a reason. Whatever was done to you, made you stronger, or smarter, or more self- sufficient. Whatever it is you would not be the polished diamond that you are becoming if you hadn’t been squeezed by that lump of coal.

Someone once told me if you want to figure out if you have truly forgiven someone, buy him or her a gift. Not just a dollar store bauble, but really come out of your pocket and buy something that they would love. I would add onto that, give them a hug; if you have truly forgiven them you won't wince or shrug, you will embrace them with you whole body and heart. We are human, thus all flawed, and everyone makes mistakes. In my opinion, it is not my job to judge you or punish you for what you did to me or anyone else. God has got my back, and if you are not doing right he will take care of you far better than I ever could..

There are some amazing things coming my way, this year, I KNOW IT! I refuse to miss out something because I am too busy looking backwards. I resolve to find and let go of any lingering self doubt or hurt I have accumulated in the past year and truly move forward free of burden, free of fear.