Tuesday, February 25, 2014
'Due to our lack of complete trust in God's revelation that we are made in the divine image and likeness, most of us get caught up in trying to be extra ordinary. We become insecure and are tempted to rest our sense of self on something less than God's love for us. As a result we waste our energy worrying about whether we are liked, respected, effective, or as good as other people. 15
If only we would properly attend to God's gifts to us and in us! Then self awareness and healthy self love could form a positive circle of spiritual self-esteem and ultimately be a source of strength for others as well as ourselves. Will we have the trust to do this? Will we take the time? 25
Personal awareness of self before a loving God is also important because it helps self confidence to grow and be more resistant to the assaults of failure or rebuff. Thus, it allows our character to develop and it enables the presence of God with in us to be felt in a good way by others. It is not that we forget or deny our faults; rather, we are better able to put them into perspective instead of being crushed by them. 25
We find God by uncovering our own true selves; and it it is in the search for God that we can better discover who we are. Through their appreciation of ordinariness these spiritual guides realised intuitively what theologians call the 'divinization of the human person'. Psychologists now described this as having a 'solid self esteem' that isn't swayed dramatically by the opinions or reactions of others 32
We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Prayer challenges us to hide absolutely nothing from God and to surrender ourselves unconditionally to his mercy 40
principles of self-respect and clarity:
1. When I have made a mistake or feel anxious, I need to separate what I have done from who I am.
2. when I feel badly about myself as a person, I must see if I am embracing an irrational belief about myself. I need to take a distressful feeling as an opportunity to uncover style of thinking and believing that undermines my self-respect or desire to understand and correct my behaviour.
3. I must be sensitive to irrational thoughts and willing to challenge and dispute them. thus I can affirm my self-respect and model it for those whom I wish to help. a common example of this is the irrational belief: I must be perfect or successful all the time. This is ridiculous and impossible. Is based on such irrational beliefs as: if I make a mistake it undoes all that I have accomplished; it is all my fault; it means I am a terrible and unspiritual person; it will completely destroyed my reputation in everyone's eyes; it cannot lead to anything good
4. Since I am the one person I will have an intimate relationship with for my entire life I need to take care of myself at least as well as I would care for others. Therefore, when I am feeling poorly about myself, I need to take steps to unconditionally accept myself and to help myself getting clarity and perspective in the same way as I would for someone else coming to me to empathy and support
5. I need to be aware of depression producing, personally devaluing styles of thinking . Some examples are:
negative adding: because a few things of gone wrong I add them together and offer them to myself as proof that, I have a cloud over my head, everything is terrible in my life, I am a bad person a loser .
Size distortion: i magnify unpleasant things that have happened to me and minimise or dismiss the positive things.
Negative contamination: I allow one error, rejection, or unhappy instance to darken all my other accomplishments or positive attributes. Awfulizing or making myself upset or miserable: I make any event into something horrible rather than seeing it as annoying frustrating or unfortunate.
Being overserious: rather tease myself or exaggerate things until they are so ridiculous that I can laugh at them and myself, I actually believe that things are as bad as I think they are. 76
We need to recognise that it is not the end of the world, terribly sinful, or catastrophic if
someone is angry with me;
I make a mistake;
some people see some of my actions as failures;
I don't work as hard as it out everything I do;
I temporarily avoid some problem; others are better at what they do then I am;
some people misunderstand my intentions or don't like me;
certain individuals don't take me seriously or may even laugh at me;
persons say negative things about me to my face or behind my back the above instances are merely annoyances in fact, they are good opportunities to practice clear thinking as a means of supporting self respect. 77
Maybe we can clear our minds of unnecessary negativity and storm our hearts with appropriate biblical images of hope. When we do this, the challenges we are anxious about may still appear but along with them the peace and excitement that come with a really risking to live the spiritual life will also overtake, cradle and warm us. This will turn out not only to be exhilarating for us, but it will also be a guiding light to others who wish to seek a deep vitality for themselves but are too afraid because of past hurts and failures. 88
Living any other way, with a view of self that is any less than god's view of us, God who wrote our names on the palms of his hands, is unnecessarily tragic and sad. If we can remember this each day no matter how we feel or what is facing us, we can then be as spiritually audacious as God has intended us to be all along. 89
Sheila Cassidy points to the heart of the matter when she notes: "if we can come to want only what God wants, then we are in a curious way untouchable; then loss of property, of good health, or health, or even of life holds no fear, but it is what God wants, we will be at peace" it is at this point that theonomy gods rule equals autonomy our rule. At a juncture such as this we become truly free. 99
Fear can be very dangerous. a recently published book on negativity indicated that fear can lead to an unhealthy desire for withdrawal. … At the other extreme fear can lead to aggression "fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom"
A major role of spiritual guides is to help us discover our fears. They help us ask ourselves: what is the worst thing that can happen if we faced our fears? One of the greatest hidden fears is the anxiety we have when we forget God is unconditional love. When this happens, we waste a great deal of energy being preoccupied with what will happen if the image we wish to project to the world does not come across.
Too often we invest and insubordinate amount of energy trying to be seen as someone who is hard-working, helpful, successful, unique, knowing, loyal, nice, powerful, or acceptable. In such instances, we hold on to the erroneous belief that we must hide, at all cost, our anger, pride, deceit, envy, stinginess, fear, self-indulgence, arrogance, or laziness. We hide behind a screen of efforts that "prove"( to ourselves, and others, and God) that we are perfect.110
An old rabbi once asked his pupils how they can tell when the night had ended and that they had begun. Could it be asked one of the students when you can see at animal in the distance and tell whether it is a sheep or a dog? No! Answeredthe rabbi.
Another asked is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it is a fig tree or a peach tree? No answer the rabbi then when is it? The pupils demanded.
It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night 125
Was I defensive today? Did I feel angry, hurt, annoyed, anxious, sad, disappointed, rigid, passive, overly nice, judgemental, bored, distracted, confused, impatient, or empathetic today? If so, what can I understand about such defensiveness that will also teach me something about myself?
Good idea with the situation today by avoiding communication in one of the following ways?
1 attacking the person directly or indirectly
2 exaggerating what was going on
3 hiding behind the rules or some technicality as a way of avoiding communication
4 averting the attention by brings in some unrelated issue
5 retreating into chronic niceness or within a shell of silence.
This process in a better position to increase our openness. Specifically we will be able to
uncover menu of our quote emotional weak spots" subjects about which we're most sensitive.
Ferret out some of our hidden anxieties for instance fear of anger not being liked, been dismissed as a valuable person, not being seen as unique, being viewed as weak etc
bring to the fore the inappropriate expectations we may have of others.
Uncover some of the major prejudices or isms we have that I hidden from us.
Highlight the emotional "baggage" or unfinished business we still carry around with us. 127
As ordinary persons band together in a world which is now so small, we must learn to face each other in understanding and love. However, to do this we must also be realistic and have humility to pray each day for patience, wisdom, charity, and forgiveness-not only of others failings but of our own as well. Otherwise we will quickly become disillusioned by our own shortcomings and the limitations of others when our day to day interactions dont reflect the hopes we had - this is true intimacy 146