Dodie sitting on top of the world Dodie's World title bar
"....we literally must unlearn self-loathing and relearn self-love. We must practice it. Become familiar with it. Experience it and insperience it. We must learn to assign a high value to ourselves and then demonstrate a belief in this high value. We must learn how to plant, cultivate, nurture and grow self-love."
Debrena Jackson Gandy
"All the Joy You Can Stand" p.5
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Books I am currently reading:

"All the Joy You Can Stand"
by Debrena Jackson Gandy

This is it--this is the unassuming little book that is saying to me: I DARE you to embark on a happier life!!
Musings, Ramblings and Minor Insights
March 10, 2009

Terrified at the Thought of Loving Myself
(God's Gonna Get Me For This For Sure!)
I must be a little behind the times when it comes to some of the new and popular 'spiritual principles' that have been emerging the past few years. For example: self-love. [GASP!] I feel naughty just writing the words! Oh, I hear a lot about self-love. It seems that everywhere I turn--psychologists, inspirational books and movies, seminars, even ministers--they're all saying, "You need to love yourself, it's okay to love yourself, you can't really love others or find true happiness until you learn to love yourself first." So, it must be true, right? I mean, they all say it's true. And those folks who are doing it, they seem to be perfectly nice, not all puffed up, vain, obnoxious, and insufferable. Actually, no, the ones who do advocate this self-love seem to be some of the kindest people I've met. Still....

I listen carefully to their reasoning, I agree that it makes sense, and in theory, it sounds perfectly all right. But when I try to put it into practice, well, that's when the old programming seems to pop out of nowhere and kick into overdrive. You know the stuff--the stuff that that was drilled into our minds when we were little kids: "You're bad, you're sinful, you're unworthy"... or even "you're black-hearted and totally depraved." Whoa! Where did that come from? Do I really feel that way? Well, let me tell you a little secret: No, I really don't think I'm all that bad.... but I sure do feel like I ought to feel guilty for thinking so!

I wonder how many of us secretly, perhaps unknown even to ourselves, harbor this sad message, deep within our minds, where it waits silently, ready to jump out just when we make up our minds to have a go at some positive thinking and mental housecleaning? And I wonder how many people, just like me are certain that we DON'T hate ourselves, and yet these thoughts of "You shouldn't, shame on you, who do you think you are?" still make their presence known at the MOST inopportune moments. I'll confess, it's a puzzle to me how I can believe it's perfectly normal and healthy to love myself, and yet still feel like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar, whenever I try to do it, or even when I just think about it!

I don't expect to offer any answers to this puzzle by the end of this essay. The whole thing came into my mind, yet again, when I picked up this little book I found on my shelf: "All the Joy You Can Stand" by Debrena Jackson Gandy. It's a book I think I'll spend considerable time with. It's a book I think I will ponder and savor and study and re-read. It is a book of 101 brief essays, all designed to help us to dredge away '....the accumulated mental, emotional and spiritual silt in our lives' so that we can experience more joy and fulfillment. And Essay #2 is entitled: "Learn Self-Love." Is The Universe trying to tell me something?

I like what this author has to say:
"We've been told to love ourselves and we know it's a good idea, but many of us haven't been shown or taught how to love ourselves."
And, might I add my own two-cents: We haven't been convinced that it's really all right!! The author continues,
"So, as we begin the dredging process, we don't want to beat ourselves up. We don't want to flog ourselves for poor choices we've made in the past, or for our bad habits or problems."
Yea! I'm in 100% agreement with this! What she doesn't touch on, however, is what I referred to earlier--that deeply ingrained belief that so many of us have from our early religious training which tells us that, no matter how well we behave, still at our core, we're all just NO DAMN GOOD! Hmmmmmm..... This is really a toughie! This is my most difficult obstacle, I would say. That ever-present sense of a God who doesn't like us very much anyway, always watching, waiting, knowing that we're gonna screw up. And when we do, he'll be right there to smack us down! This is the 'God of love' of my childhood! No wonder I was never particularly enamoured of him!

And with that, folks, I think I will retire to my closet for some more pondering. Surely, surely this cannot be the 'REAL' God, can it? Surely there must be a better way to envision the so-called 'creator of the universe.' Hell, even I could invent a better God than that! As a matter of fact, I am in the process of doing just exactly that!! So..... more on this soon.....

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