Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giving Up Anger for Lent

For Lent I am giving up my anger.

Not a lot of people know about my anger because I have tried to keep it hidden from most people, but my closest friends, family and housemates have seen my anger side. For years I thought my anger came out of my social justice work and seeing  the inequalities in the world.

After working with my therapist for more than a year, I finally realize that the anger comes out of a self-hate. This self-hate has developed over the years due to growing up with a speech impediment and feeling less than equal. I remember crying to my mom when I was young and asking, "Why did God do this to me? Why me?"

I have always known that my family and my faith community love me for who I am, but I spent most of my time out in the world where any slight differences were good enough reasons to be bullied, treated differently, or to be largely ignored. After years of this painful treatment and feeling less than whole, I internalized this hate and started to see myself as not being whole. I would wake up in the morning hating myself and thought that I had to do other things to make myself lovable. This has led me to undertake a lot of different kinds of work to prove that I am worthy of love and respect.

But in the last year, with the support of Jenn, my fiance, and my therapist, I have finally gotten to a point in my life when I recognize that I am a whole human being and that I am deserving of love and respect because of being a person and not because of what I do or do not do.

In this season of Lent, which I am doing in solidarity with my fellow Christians*, I will focus on writing more about my trauma and on loving myself more. I hope that my writing can lead to more personal healing. In the future I hope to produce materials to help youth living with disabilities and their families through the challenges of growing up in a world that is not always accepting of differences. Also, during this Lenten season, I hope to further internalize self-love to rid myself of the self-hate that has plagued my life.  

*Quakers historically do not celebrate holidays because we believe that every day is a holy day. In the last 100 years Quakers have started to celebrate holidays and more and more Quakers are observing Lent, but we do not have any special commeration for the Lenten season as a denomination.

8 comments:

  1. You are one of the most intelligent, wise and well spoken people that I know. I have a deep love and respect for you. I wish you all the best on this. It it hard to do, but shining light into those dark places inside is such an act of Godly love and opens way to beautiful transformation.

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  2. Peace, love, and solidarity with thee, beloved F/friend, on thy path of replacing self-hate with self-love. Your words have meant a great deal to me, both spoken and written, in our times together, and I thank thee and the one who speaks through thee.

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  3. I am holding you in the Light for healing during this Lenten season. I trust that what you find on your journey will prove uplifting. In faith, Mia

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  4. Bless you Brother.

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  5. Good for you, Greg. You're certainly a loveable fellow in my book. One of the kindest & most insightful people I know.

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  6. Wonderful. And I've noticed that, for every mistreated person who stands up and says, "You know what? *I* am a beautiful and beloved child of God," a hundred people looking at him/her stop and think, "Wow - you know what? I must be, too." Rock on, friend.

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    1. Thank you David for your comment! People had that reaction this summer after I preached my first sermon. Several people told me later about my boldness to preach in a congregation made them question what were they afraid to do.

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  7. Thank you all for your comments! They mean a lot to me!

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