Monday, March 20, 2017

Do you love you?

When I was 12 years old, I touched eternity. Now, if you read that and have no idea what it means, that's okay. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what it means either. It's more a feeling than anything, but let me try to put it into words for you.

My brother had been invited to sing with an all state-choir. That wasn't a surprise, seeing as my brother is one of the most musically talented individuals I have met in my life. We were all very excited to travel to a bigger town and support him in one of the things that he loved most, so one Saturday we all jumped into the car and headed off to Spokane.

The program contained many performances, and I was ecstatic to see that a symphony was assigned to play with the choir. I will never forget one particular performance. Although I am sad to say I have forgotten the very song they were playing, when the choir joined in a heavenly chorus with the magnificent symphony, I closed my eyes. For a moment, a very brief moment, I touched eternity.

It was right there. Waiting to envelop me in the immense peace and love that seemed so familiar to me. I felt my soul come alive, and for that moment I was neither here nor there, I just was. How do I explain it? Nothing has ever been so beautiful to me. Maybe it made me remember the life that I had before with God, maybe it made me experience a little bit of heaven, maybe it solidified my being here on the earth, but whatever happened: that moment was eternal.

I may sound crazy. I know that I can't explain myself more, and I am sorry for that, but I hope you all feel it one day. Whether it be while listening to classical music, reflecting on our Savior, or hiking among nature, maybe one day you will feel it too. Maybe you already have. It is an experience of a lifetime, of an eternity.

While no other event or moment has had the power and magnitude that the concert had on me, I have had glimpses of eternal moments since that occasion. I had one just recently, as I was talking to a friend.

We were conversing about something that I believe is one of the most important concepts of our existence: self-love. We began to talk about why we should love ourselves and how to do so when all the sudden, I felt it. I expressed to this friend that I truly believed one of the reasons that we were here on the earth is to learn to love ourselves. As soon as I said that, I felt it again. Eternity was with us in that moment, and I knew it. I felt the peace and the love envelop me, and I knew what I was saying was true.

Since that sacred moment, I have been wanting to write a blog post about self-love. I do it today, cautiously, knowing that it can be a sensitive subject.

I ask you this question: Do you love yourself? Do you truly, deeply, love yourself? Has that love changed you?

I can answer and tell you that I do not yet love myself completely. There are too many faults, too many weaknesses. Too many "should of's", too many flaws. We live in a world of negativity, and most of the time, even when we love others around us in a very real way, we are denying ourselves the very love that we give to others.

Do you love yourself? I'm not talking about if you have good hair days, if you love the people in your life, or if you love God. While those things are important, I'm talking about real self-love.

Do you love yourself? When you make a mistake, are you patient with yourself? Do you understand why others love you? Do you feed yourself positive thoughts and encouragement? What about when others compliment you? Do you accept it, agreeing with them? Or do you brush it aside?

How many times a day do you think of all the things you do wrong? How hard on you on yourself?

All of us do it. Maybe someone in your past has influenced you to be this way. They were hard on you, and thus you feel like you have to continue to do so yourself.

With all due respect to all the people you love in your life, let me say that YOU be the one to break the chain: to find happiness and love yourself is to truly live.

So how do we do it? How do we go from where we are now to truly loving ourselves?
Easier said than done, but we STOP the negativity.

When that bad thought about yourself comes into your mind, stop it. It has no place there. Tell it to go away. Tell it to leave. We must recognize the source from which all bad thoughts come. Satan desires that we be miserable like himself, and if you look around, he seems to be succeeding. We musn't let him.

Change the thought to be something positive.
For example:
"I will be a horrible mother" can turn into, "I will be a great mother, and I'm grateful for learning experiences on the way"
"I am not good enough" can turn into, "I am so thankful for the chance I have every day to better myself"
"I can't do this" can turn into, "I can't do this, alone."
"I am ugly", can turn into, "Last week, someone complimented my smile"
and "I am fat" can turn into a motivator, "What can I do to feel better about myself?"

I am not suggesting we live fake lives of happiness, either. Sometimes when I am overwhelmed with negative thoughts, I let them all out. I take a drive and say all the negative things that I am thinking. It feels awful! But when I am done, I tell myself that I love me no matter what, and I make a promise to try to do things better. Then I tell Heavenly Father that I'm on His side, as always.

BE PATIENT with yourself. Learn to love yourself. Ask Him to show you how much He loves you. Pay attention to the positive in your life. Keep track of the compliments, not the mistakes. Learn from your experiences.

Weaknesses are also different than sins. Find ways to laugh at yourself, don't take yourself too seriously.
Remember that God knows everything about you, and loves you completely. He desires you love yourself as well.

It will take time, it will take courage, it will take training; it is one of the reasons for our very existence.
Find yourself, find Him, love Him, and love YOU.

If you don't love yourself, Remember this. HE LOVES YOU. Completely. Perfectly. Purely.
He gave everything for you. He continues to love you. He is there for you.

I pray we all have the courage to do so, and I'm here for you as you start your journey of self-love.
Let's try a little harder to be a little better, and search for more moments of eternity.