They are more and greater than whatever Santa slings around from that bag of his.
Well, there's just one gift, but it's a big one: God! Yay!
For me, self-loathing is like a bad roommate that's been there as long as I can remember.
Spoiler: I'm just going to get real, fast.
I think some of it has to do with sexual assault. I was little and it left me with a vague sense of "I've done something horribly wrong" or, more accurately, "I am horribly wrong." I've been trying to compensate for this ever since (well over a decade).
But I think it's my personality, too. I like perfect. There's only perfect and not perfect. There's no room for process or grey or anything in between. Just perfect or not perfect.
So that's my sack of crap that I work with, the most divine teacher I have.
I really noticed it about two years ago. As I noticed self-loathing in me I continued to notice self-loathing in me. I realized I wasn't mad because someone pointed out a mistake. I was mad because that means I'm not perfect. I'm shattered. I need that image. Boom. Self-loathing.
All this happens in milliseconds, I swear.
It's as though there's some vague standard I'm completely missing, and it's vaguely all my fault.
Sometimes my own brain is the enemy: "I should have done better", "I should be doing better," "You freaking idiot," are some favorites that like to bang around in the ol' noodle.
It's lot of valuable energy that might be placed elsewhere. Like eating an apple or clipping my finger nails or maybe anything else besides spiraling in a tornado of anger turned inward.
Let me detour.
Every human is divine at the core. That's right, you!
That's right, Trump.
That's right, Hillary.
That's right, your ex.
The person under the bridge.
The person who makes your coffee, the one you wake up next to, the one you birthed.
Divine, divine, divine.
So when we throw shade on ourselves, we're covering a light, we're not noticing a turd, feel me?
Every single time I notice this hating force within me is just another chance to "meet with God". I wrap the quotes around it because "meeting with God" is like "standing on the earth". It doesn't matter if I sense it or not. It just requires my open eyes (the inside ones).
So, triggered by some human interaction or nasty thought pattern, I notice that feeling of "I hate myself". I remember to breathe.
I've met with God.
"So... Joshua... Your solution is to notice self-loathing and then breathe?"
Yes! A thousand times yes! You get it.
Do it and get back to me.
But, if I'm the only one, then that's cool. It's been cathartic writing this, and I tricked you into reading it!
Anyways, I'll share a metaphor that helps me a lot.
The soul is a house. It has rooms, closets, cupboards. Self-loathing is frogs. For me, they're hiding all over the place. As thoughts and emotions propel me through the house, I find them. Under the couch. Behind the shoe rack. Above the VCR (why is there VCR in my soul?). Sometimes in the casserole. When I discover them, I smile. They hop away. I don't have to scream at them or try to toss them out the window or ask YAWEH to halt the plague. I just breathe and smile. Sometimes I laugh.
A Buddhist prayer:
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
That should do it.
Jesus, you value women, children, men, the oppressed, the rich, the whore, the priest. You love them all, offered your life for them. Help me also honor the divinity around me and within me. Amen.