It may not show in language I use toward others. But take a moment. Listen to the words you use to tell yourself you are worthy or not worthy of someone’s acceptance, of a compliment received. Do you recognize the same words often heard to label others? This week, I began listening and found that I do.
Every time I judge myself I judge others. By accepting the labels as descriptors of my own failure to be what I expect myself to be I use words that labeled others as not measuring up to that same expectation. By dividing the words into columns of worthy or not worthy, I divide people into the same columns.
It doesn’t matter if I “excuse” others of what I hold against myself. I am far more judgmental then I ever admitted before. Every word I use to label myself stands proof of it. This truth cloaks me like a porcupine skin with the quills facing inward.
I have often told myself it is far easier for me to love others than it is to love myself. To an extent that is true. It is far easier for me to excuse in others what I don’t excuse in myself. It is far easier to act kindly according to my decision of what they needed or would want. But does this sense of excusing instead of embracing the wholeness of another person the extent of love?
In an earlier post about closing off our dreams I wrote:
“If by chance you accidently shut the child in with the dream, the child will keep banging on the door of your life until you listen. You may not even recognize the things your bring into your life or leave out of your life in your efforts to shut out that sound.”
Can this be true of my self judgments as well? Can they be justifying choices I make toward others that may not for their highest good? Can I be acting in ways that I am unaware of to discourage their dreams and longings, their ability to live as their fullest selves ?
Can I truly love others if the labels I had learned to identify certain of their characteristics with are ones I was using to put down or justify myself? Can I truly love someone else who doesn’t fit my ideal if I am using them as comparisons of what I think a person should be?
I don’t like these thoughts! I don’t want to face this in myself. It is an uncomfortable truth I would rather not look at!
But wait! Isn’t there a verse that says we will know the truth and it will set us free? If so, can it be that the truths we learn, even the ones that feel as uncomfortable as porcupine quills, have something to teach us to bring us freedom in our lives?
Could it be that by learning to let go of the labels I used to condemn myself, I will also be freer to really listen to who others are? That I might learn that much more how to truly love others?
As I learn to be kinder and gentler in my language toward myself, I will be learning to be kinder and gentler in my thoughts toward others. We love others AS we love ourselves.