“but it only hurts me”

I remember telling my friend, when I started my step four in my recovery work, that some things weren’t important because they only hurt me. My friend called bullshit on that and she also said that I am of value and when I hurt myself I’ve still hurt someone. Often, the things that I thought only hurt me, actually hurt others in ways that I didn’t realize until I made that list.

Today, while I was praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, Mary brought to my mind all the sins I have committed against myself, and the harm I’ve caused. She reminded me that I have value because I’m a beloved child of God, and she reminded me of the love I’ve been shown that I still don’t believe I deserve (I often feel like I don’t deserve the love of God, or those that have chosen to walk beside me with friendship and love, and I was always taught that self-love was a sin).

The last few years have been spiritually intense, and the biggest tool I’ve had in all of it is the rosary. My friend gave me a rosary about two years ago now, which he had blessed specifically for me. I began to learn how to pray it with the help of a different friend who had told me a long time ago she was going to teach me to pray it one day. I have done a lot of hard work, those who have chosen to help have done a lot of hard work.

I’ve renounced ancestral sins, as part of the healing process for my multiple personalities, started 12-step recovery (for real this time) for addiction, started to pray like my life depended on it (and spiritually it does), made many confessions to help heal the past, gotten baptized. I’ve filled multiple notebooks with journaling, read something spiritually important every day, started reading the Bible again, ditched things that meant something to me in order to follow Jesus.

I renounce evil and renew my baptismal vows every morning before I get up, it helps me through the day (and even then I’m often still an asshole, unfortunately), I have many prayers that I do say daily. I’ve started praying intercessory prayers again, and have realized and began living my calling. I’m so grateful.

And yet…I have not renounced and recognized the harm that I have done to myself, and I guess tonight was the time to start thinking about that. I began to pray and things began to just play on a screen in my head or something. The times I cut myself (it’s been 15.5 years since I’ve done that, woohoo), the times I was so afraid of what other people would think that I didn’t do what was good for me, the times when I gave up good opportunties like getting my public radio license, when I lied to myself, when I believed the lies others told me about myself, denying profusely my own trauma because it was too much to handle, and so much more.

It’s time to confront those things, repentance over what I’ve done to myself is necessary also. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, I still actively listen to lies I tell myself or others tell me about myself, I still want to deny my own trauma, I still worry about what people think of me and go against my best interests. It strikes me that Jesus died for this shit too. I had someone tell me once that I couldn’t honestly pray I have not loved my neighbors as I love myself, because I do not love myself, and that needs to come first.

In order to continue to heal, I have to confront those things I have done to myself. They have to be acknowleged, confessed, repented of, and amended just like all the other sins I’ve committed. When Jesus died for the sins of the world, I was included in that, just like everyone else. As I keep attempting to walk in the way of the resurrection of Jesus, I need to acknoweldge that baptism gave me life in Christ, that confession has given me God’s absolution, and that I am a new person who is learning new things constantly. I need to repent of the harm I’ve done to myself, and follow Jesus into better ways of being alive.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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