Exploring Advent: Hope & Love
Within the Catholic (and other Christian) church, the time before Christmas is known as advent, and for four weeks, we celebrate and ponder a different feeling and emotion to not only help bring us closer to Jesus (the real meaning of the season), but also to help prepare our hearts for his birth.
Today, I wanted to take the first two of the four words used for the four weeks of Advent and break them down to show you how they apply to our health.
Without hope, we tend to get caught up in the monotony of every day life: work, eat, sleep, repeat.
But when we have hope, we know that there is more to life than just the same cycle over and over. We know that we are working for something much greater than ourselves.
We also need this hope when we are struggling with health issues. Without hope, a diagnosis or set of unknown symptoms can often leave us feeling hopeless. We get trapped in the victim mentality cycle instead of remembering that suffering is not just that - it is meant to help us grow, learn, and discover the true meaning and value of joy.
Bottom line: when we have hope in something greater than ourselves and hope that God will see us through even the toughest of times, we start to see that there is more to life than just work, eat, sleep, repeat.
Love can be taken so many different ways, but today I wanted to focus on self-love.
I work with clients who struggle with self-love every. single. day. I have also struggled, as I'm sure many of you have as well.
Self-love is loving yourself because you are enough as you are for who you are.
You are enough.
But, it doesn't mean that you don't want to change something about yourself. We can still have the desire to want to change something about ourselves withOUT being self-deprecating. When we approach change from a self-love perspective, it makes the change so much easier.
How do you learn to love yourself? It starts with getting to know yourself and becoming comfortable in your skin. You literally spend 24/7 with yourself; why not learn to love who you are and appreciate all you have worked so hard to accomplish?
Bottom line: when we learn to practice self-love by giving ourselves grace to make mistakes and not beating ourselves up over every little mistake, we can start to experience the love God also has for us as well.
Next week, we'll dive into the second half of this series talking about peace and joy.