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To Learn to Love Ourselves

“There is luxury in self-reproach.  When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.”  — Oscar Wilde

Just as we don’t have the right to judge someone else, we don’t have the right to judge ourselves.  Our unhealthy script in the past was that when we did something we felt ashamed of, we judged ourselves guilty.  All too often, we then punished ourselves. Was that behavior an expression of our shame and sadness because of our defects? Punishing ourselves won’t stop our unhealthy behaviors; loving ourselves will.

We are grateful that our growth in our emotional health has taught us the difference between guilt and shame.  Guilt lets us feel remorse and sadness when our actions violate our values.  Guilt helps us know when we’ve acted badly; shame tells us we are bad.  Guilt gives us a way back to ourselves through making amends; shame leaves us hopeless.  To give in to shame and self-hatred only harms us and intensifies the power of our unhealthy behaviors.  There is a better way, and that’s to learn to love us.


Tired of Being Someone Else?

Let\'s Pretend to be Someone Else

I love acting. It is so much more real than life. – Oscar Wilde

Many of us have gotten used to playing a part.  I know that for me, I sometimes hesitate to reveal my innermost self because I may have felt ashamed of who I really am.  We can go through life with our true selves hidden by the masks of our false selves.  Some form of dis-ease has compelled us to be false, and we may have even taken pleasure in playacting.  It may have made us feel good at times to know we’re deceiving everyone around us, including our friends and loved ones.  There were times when I am certain I fell in love with my own cleverness.

Eventually, if you’re like me, we become tired of being someone else.  Our lovers, partners, our children and our friends became confused and hurt by our games and our inconsistency.  They long to know us as we really are.  As we gain the courage to get to know and love ourselves, we can drop our masks and let ourselves be seen and known and loved by others.  Our lives, and theirs, will be richer.