Embracing Ourselves

By LeaAnn Casper, LMHC

Many of us are in desperate need of embracing ourselves.  Because we know ourselves so well, we don’t think we measure up and our self-esteem and self-appreciation is low.

Instead of being our own best friend, we become victims of a paralyzing fear.  We’re fearful of our need to always be right, of our drive for power, or our need to manipulate others to get what we want.  And our past mistakes make us fearful about what we might say or do under pressure.  If we treated our friends the way we treat ourselves, putting down strengths and emphasizing mistakes, we wouldn’t have any friends left.

I believe that Christ wants us to be the kind of friend to ourselves that He is to us.  He knows our weaknesses and gives us courage to face and overcome them.  Perfect love casts out fear, and freed from guilt, we can run joyfully into the loving arms of our Father.

How is God’s perfect love worked out in our relationship with ourselves?  God wants our love for ourselves to reflect His unconditional love.  His love must heal our basic fear of ourselves.  We are not truly free until we are willing to embrace ourselves as cherished and forgiven people with great potential.  Paul shows us that embracing ourselves begins with an honest recognition of who we are without God’s grace.  He says “By the grace of God I am what I am…” (I Corinthians 15: 10).

There’s a direct relationship between our daily experience of God’s grace and our willingness to communicate His grace to other people.  The more we accept ourselves as loved by God, the more we can let go of our fear of ourselves. Pride and false humility become unnecessary because we can say with Paul that we are who we are by the grace of God.  We can offer Christ’s love, forgiveness, and acceptance to the needy person inside us.  The result will be that we can allow God to change the things about ourselves that we don’t like.

God knows our failures and has forgiven us.  He knows our potential and affirms us.  We should do no less for ourselves…so embrace yourself!