Here lies the core of my spiritual struggle: the struggle against self-rejection, self-contempt and self-loathing. It is a very fierce battle because the world and its demons conspire to make me think about myself as worthless, useless and negligible....For a very long time I considered low self-esteem to be some kind of virtue. I had been warned so often against pride and conceit that I came to consider it a good thing to deprecate myself. But now I realize that the real sin is to deny God's first love for me, to ignore my original goodness. Because without claiming that first love and that original goodness for myself, I lose touch with my true self and embark on the destructive search among the wrong people and in the wrong places for what can only be found in the house of my Father. --Henri Nouwen, "The Essential Henri Nouwen" (page 113)
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