How many of us know that we can do something with healthy motivation, and do the same exact thing, with unhealthy motivation!? Being clean or tidy, for example. It can be our natural bend, gift mix or personality – birthed from a healthy desire for our life. Or we can be motivated to clean from our deficiency, fear, or control. One motive gives life, the other takes life. One may manifest from love, the other striving for love.
When we think of today, we may think of hearts, candy, love, flowers, etc. Do you ever associate Valentine’s Day with love for yourself? Daughters young and old, from every culture and religion, learn from others how to love themselves – or hate themselves from a young age. Most of how we understand love comes from the caregiver(s) we had growing up. In turn, most of us project our understanding of love learned from caregiver(s) onto God. We ‘learn‘ about our need for love; acceptance and validation (or our fear of rejection and fear of exposure) early in life. But, our projection on God from what we’ve experienced on earth is typically lightyears apart from His true expression of love for us.
Gods loves doesn’t change. But we do… we are human after all. What happens when a child does something they aren’t proud of? My daughter will hide behind my leg or tuck her head into my shoulder in anticipation of having to apologize for something she isn’t proud of. Sounds like Adam & Eve. Shame causes us to react. Some shame is there to keep us in the boundaries of healthy living. John Bradshaw would say, “Healthy shame says I did something bad. Unhealthy shame says I am bad.” Wait, some shame is bad? If we didn’t have the feeling of right vs wrong (shame), what would limit us from bad behavior? There are some times we do need to be repentant of bad/shameful behavior. Set that aside, I’m talking about the unhealthy shame motivation. So many of were raised with a gaping hole from the love we needed verses love received. We simply walk around with shame reactions all the time – we think we are bad.
How many times have we felt, or said, if they knew XYZ about me, they would not accept me, or even reject me. How can we be fully loved if we aren’t fully known? If we are the sum of all our parts, which make us a whole person, we can’t be truly loved if we aren’t truly known. Sounds like a recipe for a lifetime of emptiness. But Gods Love is so powerful; He fully knows us, still sent His Son to die for us (while we were sinners), and Loves us without condition.
What if we could change how we thought about shame, love and acceptance? Maybe we struggle to love ourselves? Struggle to be fully known, so we hide; tuck and run. Do you ever notice yourself trying to explain, justify, clarify, or rationalize your behavior? This is rooted from a unhealthy toxic learned shame (noted from: LifeSkills International). We do this to try to legitimize our need for acceptance and love. So ‘what if’ when the desire to vindicate yourself pops up, instead you stop and say, “I am okay with me! God is okay with me!” What if we took a conscious effort to love our SELF. I’m not talking about being selfish, or even the narcissistic approach that the world has adopted on the topic of self. I’m talking about actually looking at yourself like a small child – lovable and squeezable and innocent – because you are!
Imagine that you are truly the Daughter of the King and KNOWING that He doesn’t condemn or shame you. He openly embraces all your parts, and you can too!
I’ll admit I have a dire desire not to be misunderstood. Its roots look like shame: they say I’m not good enough for me, so I must rationalize, explain, justify, and clarify myself to you (even if /when you haven’t even asked for my epilogue). Have you ever been ashamed of your shame!? I have. It isn’t pretty. I waste so much time and energy grasping for the love and acceptance of others, when I could stop and accept the Love of Christ, and the love for His Daughter (myself!). Ha! I got a picture of me walking up to Princess Kate and slapping her in the face. Holy Cow. How disrespectful! Jesus reminds me, you do this every time you beat yourself up for not being good enough. You are a Daughter of the King. A treasure. R.E.S.P.E.C.T
If we really had bad behavior, we can own it. We can expose ourselves ASAP. And then, instead of going to negative self-talk, “I’m stupid”, “I always do that”, or “I’ll never get it right”, we can change our ways, and agree truth – “I did bad, but I can change my behavior and make this right”, “I am okay with myself because Gods way works for me”, and, “God alone is my vindicator, and He loves me!”.
Bethany Luchetta is a writer of life and reality. In hopes to connect with the humanity around her, she writes from her heart. Bethany just celebrated 7 years of marriage with her love, Vince Luchetta. They are both on their second marriage. Life has not been without challenge in their personal lives and career lives, yet they strive for growth in love and tragedy. They share three beautiful daughters, Makayla (17), Paige (14), and Livvy Lou (3). If you see them, reach out and say hi!