Saturday, May 7, 2011

Avoid All Forms Of Self-Rejection

The following is an excerpt from Henri Nouwen's journal/book "The Inner Voice of Love." I may include a few thoughts following the passage.

You must avoid not only blaming others but also blaming yourself. You are inclined to blame yourself for the difficulties you experience in relationships. But self-blame is not a form of humility. It is a form of self-rejection in which you ignore or deny your own goodness and beauty.

When a friendship does not blossom, when a word is not received, when a gesture of love is not appreciated, do not blame it on yourself. This is both untrue and hurtful. Every time you reject yourself, you idealize others. You want to be with those whom you consider better, stronger, more intelligent, more gifted than yourself. Thus you make yourself emotionally dependent, leading others to feel unable to fulfill your expectations and causing them to withdraw from you. This makes you blame yourself even more, and you enter a dangerous spiral of self-rejection and neediness.

Avoid all forms of self-rejection. Acknowledge your limitations, but claim your unique gifts and thereby live as an equal among equals. That will set you free from your obsessive and possessive needs and enable you to give and receive true affection and friendship.


My first thought is that we need to take ourselves waaaaay less seriously than we do sometimes. Let me rephrase that: I need to take myself way less seriously than I do sometimes. I can only do this if I have accepted every part of myself and accept that I am not perfect. And that's ok.

Secondly, we have to stop relying on others for our sense of identity. I lived like this for a long long time. I lived from the outside in. If I felt someone didn't accept me or like me for who I was portraying at the time, I simply became a chameleon and adapted to suit their needs. This only leads to exhaustion and huge disappointment in the friendship/relationship department. Instead, why not say "I am happy with who I am, I believe that I truly am a good person, so if a person doesn't like me, I'm not gonna be devastated." Take what other people say about you lightly. Relax, have fun! Almost every one of us has a very close friend or two who will tell us if we're being a prick. Until that happens, relax and believe in your own goodness.

Lastly, I think we have to go into friendships and relationships believing that we are on a level playing field with the other person. Otherwise we will be either too needy or too arrogant and things will only fall apart; it's just a matter of time. Again, we can only do this inasmuch as we have truly accepted ourselves.

Hmmm, that's all.



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