Using Serious Illness as a Spiritual ToolDiane ChapinYour Best Self For Every Season

The Christmas Season is before us and as always it conjures up old memories and desires. We have all been taught that this is the season of good will… and so it is. It is the season to share and to spend time with those we love. But most importantly, it is also the season in which each of us has the opportunity to rise above the ordinary… to become our best selves.

What does it mean to be our best selves? It would seem that during the holidays it means good will toward the world, peace and brotherhood. All of these concepts are universal and are useful all through the year, but they cannot enter into our daily lives on an ongoing basis unless we begin to rise above ourselves in some meaningful way every day. So, let us begin to establish those principles in our lives as we give ourselves those same gifts. Each gift we give is a message to another, that we think of them and care for them… that we are sending them good will.

Let us begin to establish good will toward ourselves, as well. In so doing, we begin to be our best selves, our spiritual selves, by meeting each day as if it were a day in which to rejoice, a season of good will and with a recognition of the true message of the holidays… peace within and peace to the world. This is not only your gift to yourself, but to the world as well… the gift of becoming your best self, your spiritual self.

Each one of us, as a spiritual being, has the opportunity to give ourselves the gift this year that we seek in every gift we open, that is, the recognition that we are loved. Love is the gift we truly wish to give and to receive, but the basis of giving love begins with ourselves. Many of us are generous in loving others, but we forget that we, too, want to be loved and recognized in a loving way by family and friends.

However, the true basis of receiving love from others begins in loving ourselves. Love allows us to transcend that which is ordinary in ourselves and to become expanded in our recognition of ourselves and our possibilities. Love opens the door to viewing the world with the magical perspective of infinite possibilities… which is the hidden message of this season… infinite possibilities. So why not begin with yourself today?

Self love is not an act of selfishness. Rather, it is just the opposite. When we feel unloved, it is easy to behave in selfish ways toward others in an effort to meet our own unmet needs. When we enter into each day with a loving thought toward ourselves, it is easier to return that to others every day, not just during the holidays when good will is brought to our attention.

What does self love mean? It means we are no longer punitive to ourselves. It means that we begin to treasure the gifts we have been given, rather than looking to the gifts of others and wishing they were ours. Each of us was born into a world filled with possibilities and each of us has many gifts to allow infinite possibilities to enter into our own lives. But we cannot unlock those possibilities if we do not love ourselves enough to begin to see them.

Limitless possibilities takes us out of the ordinary and into the realm of creating our own lives. But unless we love ourselves enough not to be punitive to ourselves, unless we love ourselves enough to welcome infinite possibilities into our lives, unless we love ourselves enough to see our gifts, we will remain always opening the next gift… looking for love.

Let the next gift, then, be the one we give ourselves this holiday season… the gift of self love, self recognition and limitless possibilities. That is, indeed, the beginning of love around the world, for when we love ourselves it is easy to extend that wonderful gift of love and peace to others.

How then do we begin to love ourselves and to see ourselves as a treasure? It is not as difficult as it may seem. It is a matter of the heart… looking into our hearts and asking ourselves how we truly see ourselves and what we wish for ourselves. It is a matter of acceptance as well as a matter of the heart.

What are we to accept? OURSELVES… that is what we accept. We accept ourselves as a gift and a treasure rather than just one more insignificant life on earth. When we give gifts and extend good will we take ourselves… just for a moment… out of our thoughts about ourselves… we expand ourselves into other possibilities and we feel joyous. As we accept ourselves and recognize our own special gifts, we can create that joy within our lives every day as we become our best selves… the selves we were meant to be… joyous and loving toward ourselves and the world.

Each of us must begin to value ourselves enough to spend time loving ourselves every day. Why not open your heart to yourself this holiday season and then expand that acceptance to others? Acceptance begins to translate itself through your gift of love to yourself as peace in your life and, consequently, peace to the world. What a fine way to see ourselves… as givers of peace and love to ourselves and the world.

Expanding ourselves every day by opening our heart to ourselves begins to open our lives to the good that is not only all around us, but the good that lies stored within ourselves… that part of us which is willing to rise above the ordinary and live in the realm of greater possibilities every day.

Take a break from the world for yourself. Spend time visualizing yourself as a treasured gift to yourself and then to the world. Spend time visualizing yourself opening your heart to all your hidden gifts so that you may fully realize yourself as a treasure. As you treasure yourself so, too, will your life become a treasure to you, unfolding every day into more and more of your own limitless possibilities. Let this holiday season begin with your special gift to yourself… love and acceptance, peace and good will… your best self.

~ Rev. Diane Chapin

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