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June 18, 2012 / dcwisdom

Loving Yourself (Happy Father’s Day From Jack)

One of the greatest things my daddy, Jack, taught me was to love myself.  He never sat me down and instructed me – 1,2,3 – this is the way to love yourself.   In fact, Jack rarely sat down with me except at the dinner table where he liked to pick at my plate and use my napkin, and Jack and I never were particularly close.  He was a man of few words.  On occasion, I said, “I love you, Dad,” and he replied, “I love you, too, Deb.”  I observed love from my dad; I learned from his example.   Some things can’t be instructed, and loving yourself, I believe, is one of the most elusive of abstract concepts that cannot be verbally imparted to another.

A young man spoke eloquently and engagingly to the audience who was following his message well.  Then I heard him say, “I hate my voice; I hate to hear myself speak.”  Later, I heard him mention something else about himself that he doesn’t like.  I wondered Why doesn’t he like himself?   On the other hand, I never heard Jack speak of himself that way.  I don’t think he majored on the negatives of himself or his life, and he probably never listed his faults to anyone.  I once had a job interview where the employer asked me to list my negative traits.  I replied that while I certainly possessed qualities about myself that I wanted to change, I certainly would not reveal them to her.  I mean, who wants to hear Well, I’m actually a pole dancer in my private life, or I really like to bite my toenails.  Really?  Would you tell a prospective employer that you see a shrink every week?

My favorite comedian is/was Don Knotts.  That kook had me in stitches in every TV show or movie in which he played.  Yet, I saw his life story on Bio, and he clearly had personal issues that were not humorous.  He rarely socialized and lived very much alone, even though he was married with a family.  His daughter said that he lived as a recluse until it was time for work.  His public comedy was his personal release.  Knotts’ life was diametrically opposed to Jack’s.  Jack loved himself and his life.

Loving yourself is being able to laugh at yourself.  Jack was a class clown and didn’t mind putting himself out there to get a laugh.  Helping others laugh is a gift, and he worked it well.  Once, he participated in a talent show, dressed himself in a pink tutu and a blonde wig, and terribly lip synced to the theme song ofRawhideusing a horse whip.  Everyone roared because it was Jack doing the silly.  Laughter improved his view of himself and his audience.

Laughter, however, cannot command a person to love himself.  Jesus said, “…love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  That kind of love is deep.  It’s a commitment, not emotionally based.  Many people mistake amorous emotions for love.  A pastor once said, “If you love somebody, you’ll like them, too.”  I heartily disagree with his opinion.  There have been ten fingers and ten toesful of times I haven’t liked my husband because he hurt my feelings or he ignored my birthday.  I said to him, “I hate your guts right now, but I’m committed to you.”  We also said to each other, “Whoever leaves takes the kids.”    That comment and my commitment to Rick kept me from leaving him many times.  Even at the 37-year mark of marriage, I still don’t like him sometimes, but I sure don’t want to chase him off now.  I don’t want to train a new one.

We cannot base our feelings of love on how we feel emotionally, because we all know that emotions change like shifting winds.  Even about ourselves.  Self-acceptance is crucial to loving yourself; forgiveness toward yourself and others is pivotal and key.  I once acted horribly to someone and beat up myself for months because of my actions.  I loved the person, but my emotions ran up and down the love meter.  I sought a counselor who helped me verbally forgive myself.  I was that upset about it.  The act helped me heal even though I was the one who offended another.  I know it sounds corny, but forgiveness heals.

How do I love myself?   Just as Jack loved himself.  Jack knew that he was loved unconditionally, warts and all.  He accepted God’s gift to him, the blood sacrifice and death of Jesus, for the forgiveness of his sins.  Because, you see, it’s the spiritual condition we all have – the desire to be forgiven and loved without conditions.  Jack’s love was faulty, imperfect, and always conditional, but Jack knew the love of God.  Only The Perfect God-Love can love perfectly.  That’s how Jack loved himself, and he was God’s instrument to spiritually impart God’s love to me.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  I John 4:8

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

“We love Him because He first loved us.”  I John 4:19

“Behold, for peace I had great bitterness; but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.”  Isaiah 38:17

“…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”  Romans 5:5

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”  I John 4:9-11

Thanks, Dad.  I love you.  Jesus, please tell Dad I’ll see him one day soon.

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7 Comments

  1. Layne / Jun 19 2012 3:49 PM

    Debbie, I read your blog more often than I comment, but this one touched my heart because I knew your dad a little. I look forward to seeing him again, too! ~ Layne

    • dcwisdom / Jun 19 2012 11:01 PM

      Hey, Layne, let’s do lunch.

  2. debsladybugtexas / Jun 19 2012 12:40 PM

    that is a nice reminder Deb…someone once told me how can you love others if you don’t love yourself first…that is something I work on constantly….I have to chase away those negative thoughts and realize I’m human…warts and all….

  3. Debbie / Jun 19 2012 7:22 AM

    That was a wonderful post. I love your heart and your sense of humor. What a blessing to have a good dad. They’re getting rare as hen’s teeth. 😀

    • dcwisdom / Jun 19 2012 10:19 AM

      Yes, indeed. Prov. 4:23: Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

  4. tanna / Jun 19 2012 5:50 AM

    Very thoughtful, Debbie. Good fodder for mulling over today. 😉 blessings and hugs ~ tanna

  5. jmgoyder / Jun 18 2012 11:23 PM

    I really love this post! Your dad sounds a bit like my husband in some ways – definitely not introspective but more ‘outraspective’ – not sure.

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