Self-Love and Religious Observance: Are They at Odds?

If we have the divine within us, why did I grow up following religious rules at the expense of my own self-love?

I’m not saying that I should worship myself. I am not saying that I AM G-d. But I have a piece of G-d within me.

The kind of religion I grew up with focused on the G-d without at the expense of ignoring the G-dliness within.

So what happened?

Per Toltec language, I loved myself conditionally. Only if I was a good religious girl, followed the rules. I did not unconditionally love myself.

Which is how I suffered with low self-esteem and later unhealthy, self-destructive dating relationships.

Those who are religious: Are you telling me, you prefer for someone’s mental health to suffer, for them to possibly even pass away or even cause their own passing away—do you prefer that over them getting more religious flexibility so they can become whole again inside?

I know you are not consciously saying this.

But in the way our society has been set up, this is implied.

Only embrace those who can keep up with the Joneses. Stay on the religious path. Hold down a prestigious 9-5 (or more) job.

The others? Let them fall through the cracks!

What value are they anyway?

I’ll tell you what value they are.

They are beautiful. They are talented. They are souls.

And our society would be much-improved if we seek ways to help them thrive too. They bring blessing to all who know them.

Yet we treat them as if they are cursed.

Shame on us.

But change of heart—and all the more so, change of behavior—does not come from shame.

We are all loveable.

We are all doing the best which we know how to do.

Now let’s come together and support each other in doing even better.

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