There is a reason why we get so depressed when people abuse and reject us. You'll think,
"Sure...it's painful. It's dissapointing."
Yes, but there is something else DEEPER going on. I have a pet theory I would fight for. It is this: When you are hurt by others, the reason it hurts and keeps on hurting is not because that person IS ABLE to actually hurt you, but because (and get this carefully) THAT PERSON HAS MADE YOU LOVE YOURSELF LESS.
You might be saying. That's a big statement. What's it mean? It's all about EGO. Pay attention. When you are little YOU DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Who you are is affirmed or told to you by those around you. Your image of yourself depends on how they treat you. If they treat you well, you feel you are alright. If they treat you badly, you feel there's something wrong with you. From thence you have an EGO or FALSE SELF IMAGE.
You carry this image with you into adulthood, and it's difficult to shake it loose. It does shake loose to some degree, but in the spiritual life, all of it has to be shed.
As you grow toward adulthood and when you are there, you still expect, to some degree, to get the same treatment as you did as a child. You hold on to childhood programs. You feel you must be affirmed, applauded, told you are alright, made to feel important or necessary to others, etc.. Sadly, in doing this, you open yourself to a problem. That problem is that if you NEED others they can control you. When they affirm you, you are affirmed. You feel good. But when they degrade you or neglect you, you feel terrible. Now, you yourself, and God Almighty, are no longer in control of your self image. You are at the mercy of others.
The truth is, and this is my second pet theory I'll fight for: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AFFIRMED BY OTHERS TO FEEL GOOD OR TO DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO IN LIFE. In fact, self affirmation, which is what you do between God and your soul, is all you need. Yes, you do need this thing with God - but you DON'T need this thing with people. To need or think you need this thing with people is dangerous and it deals with the ego - the thing you must renounce, give up and get rid of forever - for your own benefit, safety and spiritual well being.
As a child, you are at the mercy of others. But through religion, you can change the way you think and feel. You might have been told in words and deeds that you are valueless, but religion tells you different. You might have been rejected by that lover or spouse you counted on, but that rejection doesn't mean ONE IOTA to your true value. However, once YOU HAVE OPENED YOUR HEART to another person, you have given them permission to put you up or down, indirectly speaking. You have opened your EMOTIONS (ego-based emotions) and you are in a place of vulnerability. Now that person can knock you down and render you anxious and depressed. This is what religion tries to prevent in giving us positive programs that get rid of ego and put our image at the mercy of God alone, and also our own selves apart from the actions of other people.
I know this sounds esoteric to some, and so I will continue arguing my point.
You must know who you are IN GOD and not in the eyes of people. Take all the qualities of the material/physical/earthly and renounce these qualities as being the real you. (Christian Science teaches this well...so does Unity, an offshoot of Christian Science.) Believe to yourself,
"I am not the body. I am not the flesh and I am not male or female, or rich or poor, or this nationality or whatever. I am not this vocation or that vocation, talented or without talent, smart or dumb, etc.
What I am is a child of God, made in the image and likeness of God IN SPIRIT. I am eternal and in my eternal self, full of grace; I am beautiful and I have all the qualities of God. I have no evil in me in the Spirit. Even when I sin, God forgives me instantly when I repent, and I have no need of ever being depressed or anxious because I am the child of a loving God who loves me unconditionally, and in all ways at all times.
These are the bare facts..but living them takes practice and prayer.
What is important is that if you live your life FOR PEOPLE you will be thrown down by people. You are chasing that elusive dream of people love. It exists rarely. If you can find one or two people in your whole life who really care for you and love you, this is all you can expect. I have found one.
Work on your own self affirmation. I have given you lots of prayers on this site. You can get books of saints, Christian and otherwise, and see how they lived. You will notice that all of them suffered at the hands of others, and many were lone wolfs and quite individualistic. They were not the kind of people who fit in with the crowd, lest the entire crowd was holy. These were people who, at the very least, were misunderstood by others. More often then not, they were abused, neglected, ridiculed and scorned. These were the Catholic saints I have studied.
I have also studied Protestant faith healers. They had it rough, also. A person who can do healing is anointed by God, and therefore saintly or holy in some area. They may not be totally perfect in their sanctity but they are perfect in their anointing. These people - who could do great things - were the object of jealousy and the evil which follows it.
Some were slandered and their spiritual careers were hurt. (John Parnham) Others were hounded and pushed to drink. (A.A.Allen) One was criticized for his weight and distribution of funds (Jack Coe - like it was anybody's business but his own?) He succumbed to illness due to exhaustion by age 37. But the worst case of abuse was against Aimee Semple McPherson. She was the greatest faith healer of all time. Nobody could touch her. Her own mother tried to take her Church away from her, which I believe was the beginning of the road down. By that I mean her nerves were shot. Then she was kidnapped and given up for dead. The ransom notes to her Mother were ignored. Finally, she escaped and found her way back from Mexico to a little border town. The press and cynical public crucified her. Her true fans never gave up on her. She was hounded by con artists and press, and could not find a moment's rest. Her own daughter sued the Church. Her husband was a whoremaster and she had to pay off a woman he had seduced. She was ill from the poison she was fed by the kidnappers and had always had insomnia. Obtaining some sleeping pills without a prescription she overdosed - perhaps from the reaction of the medicine she took for her stomach, also - and died at the age of 56. After her death, the biggest image that follows her is not the unbelievable healings, but the "dubious" kidnapping. They said it never happened!
I am giving you these people to show you that you cannot exonerate yourself. Ms McPherson was on a "vindication tour" when she died. You can't convince all the people all the time. You're lucky if you can convince some of them some of the time.
What did these and all of us need to find solace, strength and support? You need that personal relationship with God in the Sanctum Sanctorium of your soul. You need to dwell there and hear the voice of God, not the voice of people. You need to be affirmed in your daily walk with God. You need to turn your back on people's opinions and turn your heart and mind to God - every day. People will tear you down, but God will sustain you. If people tell you God doesn't love you, they lie.
What is loving yourself? It is standing your ground. It is sticking to your good beliefs. It is faith, hope and charity and discipline. It is loving God above all people and things, and dwelling in God. The world, flesh and devil will take you apart and destroy you. Don't dwell there.
Don't let people shake you up or rattle your chain. You've given all of yourself to God, and your trust must be there. If you live, fine. If you die, fine. (Yes, you have to be courageous and bold in God, counting only your eternal life as most important.)
As far as people, here is my philosophy. Whether they hate me or love me, it's all the same. My mind isn't there. I love them all as God loves them, and pray for their souls. This is what's called being FREE.
September 17, 2004