We were born loving ourselves, loving life, and believing we are loved. If we are in a place of not loving ourselves, life, or believing we are loved, it is because we learned otherwise. No one, nothing born into this life, is born disapproving of themselves or concerned others won’t love them unconditionally. How do I know that? Watch puppies and babies.
We are animal lovers. I have plenty of goals in life, probably more goals than years left on planet earth; be that as it may, one of them is to have a houseful of dogs. Currently, we have a few and are in need of a bigger bed and house before we add any more furry members. I am one of those people who dress their dogs, put bows in their hair, and basically treat them like children. I raised three kids to adulthood, so now I have turned my motherly attention to our dogs who have become our ‘children’. Is it obvious I am not a grandmother of human kiddos yet?
Recently, my son and his girlfriend, and one of my daughters got new puppies and then we followed suit. It has been a minute since we have had puppies in the house. Puppies live life with euphoric exuberance, relish every new experience, and assume everyone in the world loves them fully, unconditionally. They run and jump and play with confident abandon. Puppies cuddle and ‘kiss’ and want nothing more than to please their human parents. Anastacia, our newest, prances around as if she is the cutest, most adored dog in all the universe, and in our eyes, she is – as are the other furry members in the house.
We have a couple of older animals, too and they do not fully appreciate her exuberance. They would rather she know her place and go to it quietly, but they are tolerant of Anastacia’s love of life and everything in it. When they have had enough of the youngster, they let her know – not that their good-natured attempts at discipline are effective most times. She is relentless, and they remain patient. When she gets the message, she moves on, no insult taken. Fortunately, Anastacia has another puppy in the house who shares her exuberance. They are besties. Few things are more effective for washing away the stress of a long day than watching puppies run, chase, and play games with one another in the yard.
We also have a rescue, and it is obvious he learned he was not the light of his human parents’ eyes. He came to us cowering. If we lift a hand or an object too quickly, he crawls on his belly to his bed and shivers and shakes. If he has an ‘accident’ in the house, he fears the worst and displays other telltale signs of abuse. It’s sad, really, and in the years we have had him, no matter how much love is showered on him, his past is too much a part of who he is to overcome. At one time, someone brought him home as a puppy who loved life and had no concept of not being loved for the unique creation he is.
Animals and babies love themselves, and others unconditionally. They are not concerned with what others think; ever had a baby or puppy ask if their hips were too big, or the new outfit made them look fat? Even if they could, it isn’t a concern for them. Babies and puppies assume they are perfect just as they are. Toddlers love to run around half-naked, chubby little legs and tummies displayed for all the world to see, living in the moment and not a care in the world. Ever watch a toddler when there is music on in the house? Their little bodies move to the groove and become lost in the moment, possessed and intoxicated with pure joy. They live in wonder of each toe and finger, cry when mad or hungry and worry not about displays of emotion.
We were all like babies and puppies at one time. If we are not today, we were taught, or perceived, otherwise. From all accounts of my early years, I was adored and nearly worshiped by family. As I got older and associated with other not-so-adoring family members, and eventually school kids, I got the message loud and clear, I was not universally adored. I was the ‘fat kid’, the kid who came from a broken home, the quiet kid, the odd kid, you name it. Being ‘cool’ was not my thing. I have always been more introspective than most my age, loved reading the encyclopedia for fun – when they were actually books – and I loved words, writing, and anything expanding my knowledge-base or inspired creativity. I tried going along with the crowd, tried to be vapid, superficial, do what the ‘cool’ kids did, but it wasn’t me. ‘Me’ in my eyes was another breed of cat, and one I learned, was not accepted for ‘me’.
Whether or not we are told, or perceive we are not acceptable, loved, or worthy, we internalize the messages we receive. The messages are integrated into the perception of who we are and we begin to live from that perception of self, accurate or not. In most cases, I would say our perceptions are likely not even close to the reality of who we are at a soul level. So powerful are these messages in our lives they render us unable to live authentically, freely live our truth, for fear of becoming even more unacceptable. To live authentically, we must first love and accept ourselves for who we are at the soul level. Do you even know who you are at this point in your life? Most of us are buried in the myriad messages we have received from others that eventually became the messages we embraced as our own and ticker tape through our brains every moment of every day.
When we watch babies and puppies live life authentically from the core of their beings, fully in tune with who they are and resonating with the energy of the Divine, our souls cry out to return to the simplicity of moving to the groove, living life with utter ecstasy and abandon, and unaware we are anything but perfection. How do we get back there, and can we? The answer is up to us. First, we need to rediscover who we are on an authentic, or soul level and then begin to live authentically. It’s not easy, I won’t lie. Most of us have a lifetime of external messages contrary to our authenticity we chose to embrace rather than the messages of love, worth, and acceptance resonating throughout our beings at birth. Reclaiming our birthright as extensions of the Divine, fully loved, fully worthy, and fully accepted is soul work only we can do. The rewards far outweigh the work we put into returning to authenticity. We begin to feel whole, less concerned with the opinions of the world, and able to stand firm, understanding our place in this world is no more or less important than those who have passed judgment.
Many of us who were raised in the church were taught, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed.” (John 3:16 The Complete Jewish Bible) I believe part of that statement is true, the first part. The take away is we are loved by God, created from that love and there is no other option but love. God does not destroy, man destroys. When we embrace words others have said about us, exchanging man’s thoughts and opinions for what our spirits know to be true – that we are loved, period – we move away from God, choosing to adopt a mindset in opposition to God. We all do it, even babies and animals. It is easier for us to believe and embrace what other humans say or demonstrate through cruelty than it is to accept God’s truth, the source of our existence. We accept what we hear and experience, embracing them as the foundation of our beliefs about ourselves. The reality is we were created to believe first and then see, not the other way around.
Take a moment and think about the beliefs you have about yourself. Listen to the language you use about yourself in your head. Are they the words of the world, the words of man fraught with criticism and judgment? Have those embraced words brought destruction into your life, soul destruction? I challenge you to replace one destructive thought with the words of God and make them personal, “I am loved, and I love myself”, saying this to yourself a minimum of ten times each day for 30 days. After 30 days, leave a comment on the Bridging the Divided Facebook page and tell us what has changed in how you think about yourself and in what ways changing one thought about yourself has affected your life. You ARE loved…..
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