Wednesday, November 10, 2010

thoughts on thoughts, power, and self-love

Does anyone else find themselves thinking and thinking and thinking about so many different things that you suddenly feel very overwhelmed (and maybe a little depressed)? Mostly, I think about things of little consequence. Dumb, random things. Sometimes I wonder if I'm kinda a bit crazy. Racing thoughts? I think about that, too. 

Yesterday I thought a lot about power. I've been asked to be a guest speaker for a YW group. They want me to talk about the underlying reasons behind girls breaking the law of chastity. This article has some wonderful insights on the subject.

Our standards nights and chastity lessons usually focus on the dangers of strong sexual desire. Young men are told to bridle their libidos, which we describe as wild beasts that must be restrained until domestication in marriage, and we caution young women to avoid arousing and indulging the young men -- tempting the beast out of its cage, so to speak.

In an address about the law of chastity, President Ezra Taft Benson said:
"I recognize that most people fall into sexual sin in a misguided attempt to fulfill basic human needs. We all have a need to feel loved and worthwhile. We all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives. Knowing this, Satan often lures people into immorality by playing on their basic needs. He promises pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment."

To put it simply, thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old girls don't have sex because they desperately want sex. They have sex because they desperately want something else.
Do you have power? Do you sense that you’re in control of your own life? Do you feel you have the right and ability and the opportunity to get what you want and what you need?
The shame is not so much what girls do when they break the law of chastity, but why they do it. It’s a shame we collectively bear, the shame of creating a world where too many women opt to trade sex for power because they don't see any other convincing options. All of humanity suffers every time a woman, young or not, uses her body not to express herself, but to secure a self; not to feel pleasure, but to gratify another's; not to share love, but to barter for it.

Love it, right? This information would have been soooo helpful not only as a teen but also...ummm...2 years ago? Shhh...let's just pretend I was more self-aware then, ok?

Anyways, as I was preparing my thoughts on this topic, I started thinking a whole lot about where I turn to find my own power. This is something that I've struggled with for a long time. I have a strong inclination to look to things outside myself in order to feel worthy, important, and...powerful. At times it's been basking in attention from guys. At times it's been recognition as an art therapist and college professor. Things like wanting to see that little blog follower number keep steadily increasing. Embarrassing, but true.

The good news is I actually know why I struggle with this. But we won't go into those reasons here. The bad news is it's hard to change something that feels so natural and easy but is ultimately, not good. External approval can be very fake. It leaves you continually grasping for more and more of those feel-good validations that you have such a hard time giving to yourself. It's tiring. When all is said and done, when everything is stripped away from me, I would really love to be proud of who my inner, core self is. And, here's the kicker- I want to feel those feelings of worth, importance, and power irregardless of what anyone else thinks. So this is what I'm wanting to know:

How do you love yourself from the inside out?


Anonymous said...

oh my lanta, could your words at the end be more perfect? i feel like i just had a mini-therapy session with myself after reading them. thank you for making me think about that. truly.

jenny said...

interesting thoughts. i can totally relate to what you were saying about wanting external approval. i think most people do to some extent. i don't know the answer, but i've noticed some things that help me feel more self assured from the inside are going running, reading my scriptures, and keeping my house clean. i know that's not very deep, but that's what came to mind.

Miriam Lusk said...

This is a tough subject because every woman struggles with this. We are innately hard on ourselves and look for acceptance and power in the wrong places often. I personally love myself by seeing myself through Heavenly Father's eyes, and not my own. Heavenly Father doesn't care how stylish my clothes are, or how respected I am by my fellow men. He cares that I am faithful. That I love with all my heart. And that I let his light shine through my eyes. Whenever I am having a "Fat" day or a day when I feel totally inadequate, I think of my heavenly Father and what he thinks of me that day. He loves me every day.

candace said...

I've always believed that I'm a superhero. I know I'm crazy--but I'm a powerful crazy person.

I have found that loving myself comes a ton easier when I love/serve/help others or when I create something, or when i do something--even a little something that gets me out of my comfort zone. (Reading scriptures and following all those commandments helps, too--but I think those are the generic things, and each person has to find specific things that are fulfilling to them).

In order to love yourself, you have to know yourself. Can loving yourself really be as simple as knowing and TRULY believing you're a daughter of God? I think, for the most part, it works for me.

Just this morning, as I was driving to work, I was trying to find something to look forward to, or to be optimistic about (which, is, in itself a joke because I am sooo blessed and have nothing to complain about). But, after searching for something that was going to help me smile through today, I found myself saying out-loud, "I am going to be happy today because.......I am going to be happy today because....because...because I am a child of God." I had forgotten for a second what that really means...but to me, it means I'm a superhero, and i have that POWER--God's power--whenever i need it.

Young People in Love said...

Good thing I have such amazing friends!!! Wow. Thanks so much, guys. I will look back to these thoughts OFTEN.

Jenny- I looked at my clean house today and smiled.

Miriam- His light DOES shine through your eyes and I love that idea of being worthwhile because of that :)

Candace- How I love you. While driving to Smiths today I repeated to myself, "I am a child of God!" It was a great way to clear my mind and focus on what's MOST important. Thank you for reminding me.

Tunes & Spoons said...

I too was asked to be a guest speaker for the YW this Sunday. I am both terribly excited and terribly anxious. There is so much I would want to teach them that I wish I had learned when I was younger. Although my task it something much less daunting. My husband and I will be team teaching about Developing talents. I know that this actually goes along with what you are teaching a little bit. Because when women have something that they feel like they are good at and they develop it that really helps to give them some of that "power" that you are talking about. I think women just need to feel that they have made a mark somehow. A good place to find that power is in feeling like you have something to offer to the world, other than sex, like a talent. I think that is far more powerful than sex. Anyone can have sex, but it takes discipline and something special to develop a talent.

candace said...

ha ha, you are so welcome, Sam! Thank you for posing the question and your post yesterday.

ashley.warner said...

you have such a way with words.
Thanks for sharing that.
its good to hear these things sometimes (afterall, i'm a single gal...)

p.s. I LOVE love LOVE your blog! <3