HOW LOW SELF-ESTEEM IS SIMILAR
TO THE FEELINGS IN PURGATORY
This analysis stems from the comments of yesterday, in how you must have a good self image to get the right mate. I awakened this morning with insights. A person with low self esteem is like a soul in Purgatory.
In Purgatory there are two feelings one has about oneself:
and ugly. The sins one has committed are like stains on the soul, where the
soul is darkened to a point of gray instead of white, to a point of obscurity
rather than transparency. The wait in Purgatory slowly, painstakingly,
removes the dross which is both ugly and dirty.
St. Catherine of Genoa speaks much about the voluntary cleansing the soul undertakes; that it is in fact not God that wants to punish us, but we ourselves want to suffer for the cleansing. Maria Simma, a contemporary Purgatory minister from Austria, reiterates her point of view. It is one way of looking at it. But overall it is simply Karma. What is on you has to be removed, and both you and God agree on that.
On earth we are also in varying degrees of Purgatory.
Now let us admit, we are all guilty of sin, major and minor. Who of us is without sin? Our Karma due to sin chases us, and wherever we go, we are paying for our sins. The only way to get rid of Karma is to pay the price, get it off you, and then, you have no more cleansing or Purgatory lest it be voluntary for other souls. (This cleansing/Purgatory comes upon us in every way imaginable, from illness to bad luck, to accidents, to rejection and all sorts of things.)
Now let us call this Purgatory "Righteous Purgatory." It is the Purgatory due us for our real sins. But this is NOT what I am speaking of in regards to the Purgatory of the abused.
The Purgatory of the abused is one that is not warranted, nor is it righteous in the sense it has come upon a person not for their own sins, but because of the sins of others. The abuser is the sinner. The abuser imputes upon the victim various degrees of negative feelings about themselves; feelings of inferiority, damaged goods, ugliness, unworthiness, so that the poor person is always thinking like this:
"This great thing I am wishing for cannot happen to me as I am not worthy... I am not good enough."
"What have I done wrong now?"
"I will not be chosen lest I do a hundred more than the next person, because I am so much lower than everyone else."
"Nothing will come to me lest I struggle harder than anyone else."
"I have bad luck because I deserve it."
"People hate me... I have no friends... everyone rejects me."
"Evil will come upon me soon."
This person lives in fear. Fear of being rejected, passed over, neglected, ostracized, to various degrees according to the degree of abuse. The person constantly feels guilty even though they have not committed any sins.
Here it would be worthy to note that not all people have been abused, and so, not all people have these feelings. There are the opposite - those who feel they are superior because they have been spoiled, and those who are sociopaths to whom everyone else is a means to an end. The spoiled think:
"I deserve all good, and I will be chosen because I am superior."
"The world revolves around me and my needs."
"I am better than anyone else and I deserve respect.... Whoever does not give me my dues commits an outrage."
These silly thoughts are sins of pride, vanity, and ego, and deserve punishment. The sociopath thinks something like this:
"I will do whatever I want in life and I will get whatever I want, whatever it takes...The only right and wrong is what I want and what I don't want...People who stand in my way are wrong, and I am always right."
Obviously, this type of thinking carries serious penalties, as it is totally against charity.
of "humility" that come from low self esteem are
not the kind of humility that God requires. God hopes that we will love ourselves (as also our neighbor) and in fact, in the end, when one has had an ultimate realization of God one loves oneself absolutely. To feel negative about oneself is not humility nor is it logical or righteous. You have to feel positive and forgiving toward yourself, and you have to be glad about the life God has given you. Life is to be lived in gladness, no matter how hard it is. The saints rejoiced amidst their sufferings because their minds were on God, not in the flesh. They were thinking of God's will and eternity, not this little world here.
Again I say, the low feelings coming from abuse are not what God wants. These feelings are the Purgatory of someone else, imposed on you as Scapegoat. Indeed, many saints were tried by such sufferings, and frequently God used abuse as a chisel to make a saint, but eventually, the chosen soul rid itself of this monkey...A wise friend of mine said that families choose one person to dump their anxieties on, and that is the chosen Scapegoat. He said the Scapegoat is in the best place in the family and is the only one who can change the family for the better...personally, I think one has better things to do. The Scapegoat is the Sacrificial Lamb or "designated outsider." He/she is not "in" the family any more, and can be dispensed with. In other words, take this load, and if it kills you, too bad. You carry it no matter what happens in order to make life easier for the rest of us.
This is the Purgatory I speak of which makes a person feel UGLY, DIRTY and UNWORTHY. He or she can be exceedingly attractive, but always feel bad about their looks. They feel they DESERVE PUNISHMENT and so they ALLOW punishment to come upon them! That is the direct result of what others did to them by constantly punishing them unjustly. When a great person comes along who might be a spouse, let us say, early in life, before too much damage is done, you still have a chance. But within a few short years the abuse is so internalized, and has damaged one's self image so badly, that they cannot imagine snagging a powerful mate. Whenever such a mate is available (because from the outside they can see your good qualities) - you don't believe it can happen. You let it slip through your fingers.
This sounds unbelievable to some, so let me make an analogy that makes sense. There is a person you are besotted with. He or she is everything you admire. This person is attractive, intelligent, great personality, good social skills, good at earning bread and the rest. You imagine hooking up with him or her could make life wonderful. Soon, you will be in a place where you could spend some time with this person nearby and get to know each other. Perhaps a social event. Everyone will be there, including many others who admire this person and would like to snag him/her.
But you have serious problems. Here they are: You cannot take a bath for a month. Your body is dirty and it stinks. On top of that, you have no decent clothes. What you must wear are dirty rags. In spite of all this, you must go to this event and take your chances. How do you rate your chances? Not only do they despair of being chosen, but along with that, there is a stinging sense of shame and embarrassment. To think that the beloved, my ideal, would see me as stinking, filthy and raggedy!
This is exactly how a person feels who is negative about themselves. They see and smell their so-called "dirt" and rags, and even ACT THAT WAY so they say things and behave in a way that puts them in a negative light! Their awful feelings about themselves show! Oh, horrors, even when great people want them, they scare them away by their own words and deeds! They BELIEVE something is wrong with them, and so they convince others that indeed, there might be something wrong with them - although it is to the contrary. These tortured souls SCARE AWAY ALL THE BLESSINGS GOD WOULD GIVE HIM OR HER!
Now do you get my point? In order to snag that great mate you admire so much - that person you love who would make life so wonderful - you have to go through serious healing. You have to love yourself (in true love, not selfishness,) in order to create the conditions for a happy, successful bond with someone.
My last words on the subject are the real Purgatory of the dead, and what they suffer. What everyone wants for their soul is to be united with the Absolute. Within God is the end to all suffering, all hunger, anxiety, and all needs. When God fills the soul with ultimate goodness all one ever wanted, in their heart of hearts, is fulfilled. All the ecstasy, the joy, the freedom, the peace, the vision - all good that can be imagined and more - is all ours. We are completely fulfilled, completely happy with nothing more to yearn for. This is what the soul wants - now that it sees reality and is no longer distracted by survival issues and things that don't matter. But it cannot join this Absolute good because the soul itself is far from good. It sees within itself obscurity and darkness and soil which must be removed. When the soul, finally, sees reality, it sees many things at once and all its pride and vainglory are smashed. It sees how far from good it really was, and how full of imperfection. There is a regret, and a kind of shame and embarrassment. Oh, if God would look upon me now, face to face, I would crumble! The beauty of God in contrast to the ugliness of me is so great! Please God, let me hide under a rock, but don't look at me face to face! Let me bathe and bathe until I am clean and I can look you in the eyes and not hate myself! On earth, the soul deluded itself greatly. For one thing, it compared itself to the sinfulness of others, real and imagined;
"I'm not so bad as others," says the typical soul.
"I don't steal and main and kill people...God will not deal harshly with me."
But reality can be tough, because God looks at the attitude and the disposition, and seemingly nice people can have long, terrible Purgatories, or even merit Hell. (It isn't by your personality that you are judged, it is your inner state.) There inside the soul are all the impediments to perfect purity, perfect justice, and perfect charity. Slowly, slowly in Purgatory, grace enters the soul. It is perhaps ten, twenty, thirty times slower than it would have been on earth. It feels like forever. You will pay the last farthing, the last penny, for the disposition lacking in charity.
I personally am not taking any chances. I do all that I can to keep my soul clean and to pile on the merits. Others might think I'm a lowlife, judging me harshly as people do, but that is alright. I am thinking only of God. I have renounced the care of what people think of me. (All that I need to keep me happy is my work and a friend or two.) I am careful to keep my attitude clean, especially in the judgment of others, in pride, ego and vanity, and in the wanting of things not needed. As I once agonized over my relationship with men, wishing to have someone great loving me, I now worry only about one thing: My marriage with God.
P.S. The secret weapon against Purgatory!
Something made me think of this to share with you. My late husband, Richard, spent a record short time in Purgatory - slightly over eight months. I wonder how much the Masses he purchased for himself and family, which were in his will, had to do with this. I'd been hounding him to purchase Masses for himself and not to trust anyone to do it after his death. I told him relatives never buy enough Masses. (This I told him before we were married, as I'd be the only person he could have trusted to get enough of them.) You might need a huge amount to get out of there fast. I personally purchased $1,000. of Masses for myself at one time, and have spent another $12,000. for Souls which I know will help me also.
My plan is not to go to Purgatory at all. When my husband died I finally read the will (which I had but never read.) There, he almost obeyed me. He left $2,000. for Masses. In my dreams I saw this: His relatives, already in Heaven, didn't need the Masses, so they all went to him. In God's mercy he was given the benefit of the Masses, long before the Church was paid for them. By the time the Church was paid Richard had already made it to Heaven over a year, as in God's mercy, God gave him the benefit of them before they were celebrated. If you want to guarantee yourself a huge break in Purgatory purchase Masses for yourself now - a lot of them. Bear in mind also that any charity you extend to the Suffering Souls now alleviates your own Purgatory, if not completely eliminates the need for it.