“What would it take . . . ?”

A recent Facebook post by one of my cousins inspired this reply of mine:

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My experience is that if my behavior is too far from my ideal, others’ love is never going to be enough to make me feel good about myself. But rather than just beating myself up for not being near my ideal yet, I’m learning to ask the question, “What would it take for me to feel greater self-respect right now?” When the thought inspires me to do at least one thing that I value, it’s a huge mood lifter.

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My cousin’s position was that one need not “earn” (through achievement or self-mastery) his or her worth and loveability, and to believe to the contrary is to believe a lie. I can appreciate her point: if we can never feel contentment or self-love until we’ve done ALL the things we imagine life (or God) expects of us, we will be forever miserable. But I would counter the idea that one need not earn the FEELING of worth and loveability. My experience tells me otherwise. While meditation and gratitude can do much to improve a personal sense of wellbeing independent of achievement and self-mastery, neither can replace the profound import of acting according to one’s conscience.

Which raises in my mind the very important question: “What (or who) are the influences in my life that are defining my moral compass?” I’m convinced that when we hand our consciences over to others who claim the right to define morality and worthiness for us, our current and future happiness become dependent upon our living according to their definitions (whether reasonable, attainable, ethical, or beneficial).

Make sense?

What do you think? Can you feel worthwhile/loveable without acting in ways that please your conscience?

About Shaunalei

Sometimes working toward peace is a serious business; other times it's just a whole lot of fun. I created "Peace by Piece" as a storehouse for some of my thoughts. (Aren't you lucky to have found them?!) Enjoy!
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