This weekend, I was at a Jen Pastiloff workshop, and among other things, she asked, “What is the most concrete act of self-love you could practice in the next 24 hours?”
Eat greens, yoga, sauna, walk, read, write and more all made it to the list. And I did them all. However, the most radical act of self-love ever? One that did not make the list?
Now, I fully understand that this is not going to happen within 24 hours, but a girl has got to start somewhere.
Let all of my childhood shame and blame go.
Let the shame and blame over my failings as a mother go.
Let my shame and blame over my divorce go.
Let my shame and blame over my departure from the Mormon church go.
Let the shame and blame over damaging and excessive behaviors go.
Let the shame and blame over horrible relationship choices go.
“Lack of forgiveness is the worst form of self-abuse.” –Michael Beckwith
Several members of my family and several LDS friends have told me that happiness could and would be mine if only, I returned to the LDS fold. This monopoly on TRUE joy, happiness, and eternal salvation is a common theme of the LDS church. They consider themselves to be the ONE true religion and the ONE way to eternal happiness. Thus the huge proselytizing efforts and disregard for those who follow a different path. I get it. It is threatening when you are sure, “beyond a shadow of a doubt” of your correctness, and someone who once felt the same way decides to question and leave.
However, that message is hard to unlearn. I mentioned some of these conversations to a trusted friend who has been with me through my struggles of the past 15 years. She incredulously asked, “do you remember how unhappy, dark, and even suicidal you were when you were a devout member of the LDS church?” Why yes, I did. I was IN. I was living, breathing, walking, and talking the Mormon church. And I was miserable.
AND, many of the healthiest and happiest times of my life have been over the past 3 years, during my ever-evolving journey into wellness: wellness of the mind, wellness of the body, and wellness of the spirit. Yes, I’ve made some ill-advised relationship choices, UNTIL NOW, but that has been a gift for my entire 48 years, not since leaving the LDS church.
I’ve researched and written about forgiveness. Bottom line? Forgive=release the need to punish. I no longer need to choose mean people, dysfunctional situations, and an exhausting existence. I can choose joy. LDS or not, I deserve joy. I would never tell a struggling friend or family member that unless they adhere to a very specific religious sect, they deserve misery and struggle. So why would I say that to myself?
Self-love=self-acceptance=self-forgiveness=no more self-punishment=self-love! See? It’s a nice big circle of love.
Light and Love,