In the King James edition of the Bible it says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Although I have been known to hold a grudge or two in the past I do see the lure of this particular statement. Love your enemy, even when they hurt you. It is the Christian thing to do and even if your faith lies elsewhere, it is the moral thing to do.
I know that I feel so much better when I take all the negative energy that is cast my way and turn it into positive energy. It’s a good motivator and honestly, there’s too little time left to actively hate someone all the time and consistently wish them ill.
It took me a long time to learn that it’s better to love an enemy than to waste the time hating someone. Even now, I struggle with the concept when my anger gets the better of me.
Over the weekend, I was binge watching Longmire on Netflix and one of the recurring characters said something that really settled with me. The character said, “I went to church a lot as a kid, and we were always taught to love our enemies. Tai Chi taught me something new — to love the enemy inside me, as well.”
I’ve made decisions in my life that I am not proud of and in a way it’s always fostered a distaste for myself. It’s difficult to look into the mirror and not like the person that stares back at you.
I don’t want to live that way.
No one should have to live that way.
It’s time to love the enemy inside of me, so I can love myself.
I wouldn’t consider it an easy process. You have to forgive yourself for all the things you’ve done wrong and since we’re our own hardest critics, that might be tough.
But if you can forgive someone for the wrong they’ve done to you, then you can forgive yourself for the wrong you’ve done to your soul.
After forgiveness, there is acceptance. I think a lot of self-hate comes from impossible standards we put on ourselves. The human condition is essentially imperfection.
More times than not you will definitely mess up. Accept that you will not be perfect. You weren’t meant to ever be the poster-child for absolute, saintly perfection.
In life, you are going to make mistakes. You’ll hurt someone’s feelings, or say something inappropriate, and there’s a good chance you might carry something from your past that you’re ashamed of.
Forgive yourself, and accept your own flaws, and try to be better than you once were.
You can’t move forward if you’re always holding onto the past. Let go of the guilt of your previous actions and accept that you might make mistakes in the future. Love yourself because you are a flawed individual, just like you would love another person.