Love Letters to Humans (no. 80) — on Self-Loathing

You are a precious and integral part of every relationship you have. No amount of self-loathing will restore a damaged relationship to harmony. You cannot despise yourself into right relationship.

We can take responsibility for our decisions, our actions, our mistakes, our ignorance and still regard our own innate humanity and worthiness. Believing ourselves to be anything less than worthy of care, dignity, and growth—even after we do harm—does not move us toward just and sustainable relationship… it reproduces systems of punishment and contempt.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that those whom we have harmed owe us anything—they are equally worthy of care, dignity, and growth, and that may mean a good deal of time and space away from us. No one owes us grace or forgiveness. We can still offer grace and forgiveness to ourselves and keep it moving.

Learning to be in right relationship with ourselves and one another requires self-awareness, responsibility, and our full humanity. Our growth and relational repair does not require self-judgment or shame.

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Relationship is. Right relationship nourishes.