What Do We Deserve?

Choosing to see ourselves differently

As children, we constantly wanted to understand things at a deeper level. We’re all familiar with the never-ending ‘Why…?’ that emanates from young children’s lips. This constant flow of growth through reflection and openness to life needs to continue to characterize us as adults. We need a growing awareness of the directives we were given by our parents and the world we grew up in. As we come to understand why we do, say, believe certain things, we can start to make the inner shifts to the greater freedom that God intended for us all to live in.

To help us in this process, it’s worthwhile to stop and list our family values and their most repeated sayings. These will help show the patterns of behaviour our parents and grandparents had taken on as their own and will have passed on to us. We may come to understand that even some of the inculcated feelings we have actually have been inherited from previous generations.

As we look, without blame, at our family’s core values we can start to question what we’ve always held as valid for ourselves. For example, is it true that work is always more important than play, that children’s opinions are of less value than those of adults, that if you’re rich/healthy/clever you’re of more worth than those who aren’t, that you must always control how you behave?

The problem with this kind of conditioning is that it became the way we judged others and ourselves. It’s left us feeling that getting love is conditional, that we need to prove that we are worth loving. Our self-esteem gets called into question and we find ourselves feeling unloved and unworthy. If we continue living on a past system, we will still be kept in check by those conditioned patterns. We may even choose friends that corroborate with our internal evaluation system.

What we need to do is to realise in our hearts that God sees us differently and wants to help us step by step to see ourselves truly, through His eyes. To Him, we’re worth everything. We’re equal before Him as His sons and daughters, we’re heirs to His inheritance, so we deserve everything. This is the message of the cross. There’s nothing we have to do to earn this gift or to make Him love us more. Unlike the world, He’s not choosing any measurement on us and we cannot do anything to prove to Him that we’re worthy of His attention.

As we act out of this consciousness it may feel uncomfortable at first, but if we allow our inherited conditioned feelings to define us, we will never change. We are not victims of our past, we can remind ourselves of how we were as children before we were ‘cookie-cut’ to size. Whilst doing this we can own our moment-by-moment choice of how we want to live – authentically and at peace with the person we were meant to be.

This reflection is from the Sans Pareil Session on Monday 29 June 2015. For details on the rest of the Self-Worth Series, click here.

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Finding Enough

A reflection on leaving ‘survival mode’ and celebrating who we are.

Unless we’ve become free of it, each of us continues to measure ourselves every day. It’s almost as if we’ve swallowed an inner measuring tape by which we constantly check ourselves with questions like, “Have I done enough?”, Am I clever enough?” or “Have I met their expectations?”. Continue reading Finding Enough

Measured and Found Wanting

Looking at ways we’ve learned to value or devalue ourselves

Self-reflection is important because through it we discover how we came to be who we are now. We see, too, where our self-esteem is ‘firm’ and where we’re still ‘wobbly’ and scared to push out on it. Through it we also realise where our movement outward has been compromised.

Most of us have spent the first half of our lives trying to satisfy society’s expectations and ways of measuring us. Continue reading Measured and Found Wanting

“Our homes, our churches, the institutions we are a part of, all are meant to be the spaces where connection can happen. So often we expend all of our energy on the function of these places and forget that it’s about the relationships; it’s about loving.”
— Sergio Milandri, speaking on ‘Prayer as Relationship’

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