A Woman's Voice

I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self ~ Chapter One (continued) ~ July 21, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

…continued from yesterday.

CHAPTER ONE ~ The Greatest Of These Is LOVE

The first of these views that I would like to expand upon is love. To me, it is our most basic need. The need to love and to be loved is almost interchangeable, but the hardest person to actually love is oneself.

“Love has two daughters—kindness and patience.”[i] It is very important to bear this in mind as I go through the different points that I used to help myself. Important changes take time, and this requires a lot of patience and perseverance. It also requires a big dose of kindness, not only to others but to oneself. “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”[ii] Be kind to yourself, and you will learn to be truly kind to others.

So many times throughout life I have met several people who don’t like themselves for one reason or another. I must admit that at times, I have been at the top of the list. We want to be more like someone else, we want to have more of what someone else has, or we just want to be prettier, happier, or more successful. We think other people have more confidence or more self-esteem than us. Over and over again, we compare ourselves to others and come up short.

Very few people actually want to admit this to anyone. It almost seems that if we did, no one could or would want to relate to us. After years of soul-searching, sharing, and reading, I have come to realize how much alike we really all are in this regard. In most cases, it seems to come with time, age, and maturity before we actually admit this, not only to ourselves, but to the world around us. By the world around us, I mean our own personal world and some of the more trusted people in it. It would be so much easier if we didn’t feel the need to compare ourselves to others and even easier if it didn’t matter what other people think, but it does.

So, with this thought in mind, one of the quotes that helped me in my desire to develop self-love is that “You can conquer others with power, but it takes true strength to conquer yourself.”[iii] Over twenty-five years ago, during a difficult period in my life, I literally forced myself to stand before the mirror and say “I love you.” I had to realize and reaffirm that God made me in his image and likeness and that he loved me just as I was, flaws and all. The more I accepted this fact, the more I became able to accept others for who they are rather than whom I wanted them to be. I may not always succeed at this, but it is certainly not from lack of trying. When I don’t, I remind myself that I am human and that God made me this way for a reason, and I remind myself to keep persevering. Hence, I’m not perfect and it’s okay.

At this time, I also felt compelled to get back to the ABCs of my faith. I reflected all the way back to my first encounter with God at the beginning of my formal education, as early as first grade, and how I was taught. I looked at the basic questions that were asked and answered all in one breath. Who made you…God made me. How did God make you…God made me in his image and likeness. Why did God make you…God made me to know, love, and serve the Lord.

This sounds good, yet somehow in the midst of this education, another lesson was also taught. It was the lesson about sin. First, it was the sinfulness of Adam and Eve. Then it was about our own sinfulness at such young ages, told to such impressionable young minds. But even more importantly, it was about original sin and the indelible scar left on all of our souls.

There was no mention of love in those early days. We were taught about hell and eternal damnation. We were taught about mortal sin, venial sin, and dying with a sin on our soul that would never be forgiven if we had not gone to confession. We were taught that God was a punishing and unforgiving Father, and we risked the loss of his love just like Adam and Eve. We were taught a lot of frightening things, but the one thing that sticks in my mind the most is that we were not taught about God’s wondrous love and mercy.

to be continued…

[i] “Sprichwort quotes,” Love  Sayings – Joachim Home Page,

[ii] “Lao-Tzu quotes,” Thinkexist.com,

[iii] “Lao-Tzu quotes,” Business Coach – Changing Yourself: Starting with Yourself by Vadim Kotelnikov,

6 Responses to 'I’M NOT PERFECT AND IT’S OKAY ~ Thirteen Steps to a Happier Self ~ Chapter One (continued) ~ July 21, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte'

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  1. Kathy Eberly said,

    This is so good, Dolores! I really need this in my life right now! I know I’ll try to add this to my library soon!

    • Thank you so much Kathy….I am honored that you would consider adding my book to your library collection. Bright blessings to you! 🙂

  2. Dolores, this sounds like a book that could benefit many. Blessings for success. BJ

    • Barb….thank you so very much for your encouragement and support. Bright blessings to you and I also wish you much success with your book Last Resort. It’s a great book! 🙂

  3. shanyn said,

    Dolores, a great post, and you are so right – we didn’t learn the biggest lesson was love. We learned fear we learned other things but somehow we didn’t get the love message, and that is sad because learning how much God loves us makes it so much easier to love us and those around us. Bright blessings!

    • Thanks Shanyn…yes, I know how much fear and guilt were instilled in us as young children. It was a great travesty to teach children to be so afraid of God who loves us so much. The psychological and emotional damage was devastating in more instances than we are aware. As far as I’m concerned, these teachings are the exact opposite of what God is really all about. It took me well into my adult life, and after much suffering and despair, to fully embrace a healthy image of a merciful and loving God. Bright blessings to you too! 🙂

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