Want to attract more love in your life? First learn what it means to love yourself. From Justin Epstein’s talk “Give Yourself A Valentine”: “You Can’t Earn God’s Love”.
FULL VIDEO TEXT (Transcript by Victoria Barkley):
Love is the nature of reality. If we think that we are not worthy of God’s love, then we need to understand that God’s love is not a question of worthiness. We don’t earn God’s love. It’s a free gift. God’s love simply is. It’s not a matter of being good enough.
Some people think that they need to be holy to get God’s love. You know, they need to be well- behaved and saintly acting. No, we just need to be receptive. It’s just there. It is present. And it flows, and we can receive it and embrace it.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “God has loved you with an everlasting love.” An everlasting love.—means it’s always present. Everlasting—no matter what mistakes we’ve made, no matter what mistakes we’ll make in the future; no matter what kind of bad behavior we can engage in, in the moment…no matter what. God’s love is there, present for us. We just need to accept it and receive it and be open to it.
If we don’t feel God’s love, it isn’t because God has moved; it’s because we have moved in consciousness somehow. Somehow we pulled the shades down, blocking the sun of God’s love.
You know, if we are in a room, the sun can be out there shining and we’d be “Gee it’s so dark in the room. It is so chilly in the room. Let me lift up the shade and let the sun shine in.” Then we’d feel the warmth as the light streams into the room. God’s love is like that.
We frequently pull the shades down on God’s love by our inner attitudes of self-criticism, self-condemnation, self-judgment and other ways.
I remember in ministerial school one time, I mentioned before that back in those days (this was ’91) I felt like I was trying to be spiritual, trying to be positive and all that stuff but I didn’t know what to do with negative feelings. I was critical of myself and very hard on myself. And the thought occurred to me one day, as I was thinking about God’s love: How can I feel God’s love if I am beating up on myself and being upset with myself and critical of who I am?
How do you feel God’s love when you have those thoughts going on in there? You know, if we’ve got bitterness or resentment or self-judgment, or self-criticism, beating up on ourselves, then we block God’s love. It is like pulling the shades down. It’s still there. The love is there, but we’re not helping it. We make it harder.
Want to feel God’s love? Be gentle with yourself. Be understanding with yourself. Be more compassionate with yourself.
Yes, that doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge areas of weakness, doesn’t mean we don’t see our shortcomings and do something to change them or to be different; doesn’t mean we don’t apologize and ask for forgiveness. You know, “I am sorry I got angry, or whatever…” Acknowledge it and then we do something different.
Love yourself and change. I used to think: “how can I grow without getting upset with myself?”
And some of us learn this as kids when someone shouts “Don’t do that!” We would get angry with ourselves. And we learned that that’s how we change, we get upset with ourselves…
No, we can love ourselves and change and make changes. That was a big thing for me to learn that.
God’s love is always present and it is possible to block our experience of that love. But we can give a Valentine of Love to ourselves by being more understanding and loving of ourselves, instead of condemning and critical.