Today is Jeune Genevois ... there's no work. I took this opportunity to just take it easy. The rainy weather made it easier to just sit back and relax. So that's what I did. I read a book and finished it. I've not done that for a long time. My mind was blank except for the book's content. I read Bo Sanchez "7 Secrets to Real Freedom" and couldn't put it down. I started reading in the kitchen and all the time, I was wondering whether I should go to the UPSA workshop at the Church of Latter-Day Saints. I didn't feel compelled. I had gotten up early and had readied myself early. I washed my hair, made myself up, ate lunch, did my French homework and started to read the book during lunch.
I was moved and there were times when I cried. I was worried for my makeup especially because I had put mascara on but I didn't worry, I was overtaken by the book that I didn't care.
The book talks about addictions and how we are sometimes hiddenly addicted to things and are unaware of them. Addictions according to Bo are signs of a bigger need - the need to be loved because we have empty love tanks.
There are the compulsive people pleasers - the approval addicts. There are the workaholics - who even at the failed attempted suicide of a daughter continued to work. Eventually, the daughter successfully committed suicide and the man died estranged from his wife and children. There are the porn addicts. There are all sorts of addictions that cover up for a bigger need and as what my colleague Danny always emphasizes "We are all put on this earth to love." We all need to be loved. When we don't get it from ourselves, the people we love, we try to get it from our addictions.
Love. That's been the message of this past week. And so I took time to love myself. Yes, you heard it right ... it's not bad to love yourself. Because you can't give of something you don't have. It's not being selfish, it's just making sure that your own love tank is full. You surround yourself with things that make you happy and people that lift you up. So that's what I did.
I used to be a people pleaser. I was defensive and crushed when people didn't like me. I would excel at school because I got patted on the back. While all the while, my family life was falling apart. My home was in ruins due to my father's alcoholism. It affected all of us. My mom was emotionally inaccessible, my brothers were lashing out or apathetic, I would pour all my attention towards school. I never wanted to go home. I didn't want to face the pain of what was happening. I never spoke about this until I went to college and what a liberating feeling it was when I did.
Slowly, I opened up and accepted our situation. I accepted that I came from a broken family and that it wasn't anything I should be ashamed about. It was not a scourge. That it happens. That it didn't define me and that I wasn't abnormal.
The book talks about accepting ourselves as both sinners and saints. That we don't need to batter ourselves with blame or panic, because we are two sides of the same coin. That God loves us for who we are and that God is not a vengeful God who exacts revenge everytime we forget our prayers. He wants us to be happy.
There is also toxic faith, where we rely fully on faith without concrete actions. There is also the instances where religious leaders become abusive and we have the choice to be not victims of abuse because we can take charge of our lives.
We need real faith ... The believe that God will heal us but we have to make an effor to take charge of our lives because after all, He gave us free will to choose our decisions. Stop the blame.
So that's what I did today. I had time to reflect and read and it was a wonderful feeling. I wasn't panicking as I usually do when I have nothing to do or when I don't have any where to go. I felt at peace to just sit in the kitchen, reading a book and having time to myself ... something I hardly do ... because I choose to run around like a dog chasing its tail. I'm tired of running around ... I want to see life for its beauty ... in all its slowness or fastness ... but at my pace and not the world's. I want to be me without feeling guilty or gauging my worth in the eyes of others.
This is my prayer ...
Reading this book opened up my eyes and made me believe that truly I'm a child of God - worthy of love. I pray that every day I will be able to accept myself - sinner and saint alike and love myself. I hope that I will be a light to others and not help them bask in their own darkness. Lord, let me be your instrument of Love and Peace - for you are the source of both. Let me not have toxic but only real faith - the belief that you alone are God but that we as intelligent human beings can take charge of our lives. That we as your children can be your true disciples. And I pray that whatever I do in life, I will be a source of love and joy for you and others as well. This I ask in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.