Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

I'm Supposed to Love Myself? ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

I'm Supposed to Love Myself? ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

I'd always had trouble with the Fifth Commandment: "Honour thy father and thy mother." This felt impossible because of my unhappy childhood.

When I first learned through my study of Christian Science that God, divine Love, was both my Father and Mother, I happily thought that let me off the hook.

It seemed a relief basically to ignore my human parents except for necessary visits, but after a number of years I realized that the family dysfunction had far-reaching effects. The disappointment, fear, and resentment I felt came out in other relationships, most noticeably toward myself.

Wanting to express more love in obedience to the Golden Rule, I grew in patience, unselfishness, and tolerance. But still I was not free from anxiety, self-doubt, and short temper. I always felt I didn't measure up and realized that I was often down on myself for being down on myself.

When the full meaning of Jesus' command to "love thy neighbor as thyself" began to dawn on me, it was clear that I could no longer love my neighbor instead of myself. The grace expressed in his Beatitudes, such as "Blessed are the merciful," allowed me to begin to be merciful toward myself.

A significant turning point came when I realized that as God's image and likeness, as described in the first chapter of Genesis, I reflected God's father-motherhood. Asking myself how God saw me, I realized that I could appreciate in some measure that I must be "very good," and ready, willing, able, and worthy to accept that fact.

With the help of the 23rd Psalm (as explained by Mary Baker Eddy), and the 91st Psalm, I began to put some basic mothering and fathering qualities into practice toward myself. I began to speak to myself more gently, patiently, comfortingly, and lovingly.

I took a firm stand in defending my mental home. Whenever judging or critical thoughts would come, sounding very much like my own voice, I rejected them as not my own thoughts since they did not come from my loving Father-Mother. …

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