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It never ceases to amaze me how a few kind words can heal even the most grievous wounds.
"I love you."
Simple phrases, easy to say, that sometimes, we say them without thinking. However, when we take the time to look into the eyes of another human, saying with all our heart these phrases, healing happens.
Take for example the healing that Nelson Mandela brought to his country through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which gave South Africans a tool to forgive; thereby, giving them the opportunity to create a new life in South Africa.
Interestingly, the words, "I'm sorry, forgive me," and "I love you" are seldom said to the one person who needs to hear them the most...ourselves!
When was the last time you looked in the mirror and said, "Forgive me," or, "I love you?"
It's not easy. We feel foolish. We don't see the need.
It's a shame, really, because when we are not able to love, forgive or care for ourselves, we cannot truly be there for anyone else.
It took me many years to forgive myself for not being the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. Once I was able to understand that it was OK not to be perfect, that it was only necessary to try to be the best I could be, healing happened.
The moment I forgave myself, I was able to say without shame or hesitation that I love "me."
Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a magical fifteen second revelation. It literally took me years. It was hard work, and sometimes, I slip back into the old habits of self-degradation.
One thing I have learned, though, I am most vulnerable to seeing myself as unlovable when I am tired, stressed, lonely and/or sick. Now that I understand this, I find I am less likely to fall into the old “I’m no good” mindset. Instead, I have learned to allow others to nurture me, to care for me, to remind me that I am lovable. This, too, is a blessing I denied myself back when I thought negatively of myself.
Surrounding ourselves with loving, caring people helps us maintain a loving, caring attitude about life, ourselves and others. The thing is, it starts with us. Until we see ourselves as enough, as good, as acceptable, then it is difficult for others to see it, also.
Forgiveness is difficult. Love is difficult. Caring is difficult. The difficulty lies in the fear that we may get hurt, again. I won't lie, you probably will get hurt again.
However, the good news is, that with forgiveness, comes new opportunities to love and care for yourself and others.
May you learn to always see the Sacred in yourself as well as others.