There are no limitations to the self except those you believe in.
~ Jane Roberts, The Nature of Personal Reality
When I was in school, one of my chores was to make 30 bologna sandwiches each week for Jay, Nancy, David, and my lunches. (I hated this task, and the soggy-by-Friday bread.) Perhaps because of our non-cafeteria lunches, when my children were in school, my mom gave me money each month for the hot lunch program. This was a generous, ongoing gift that I really appreciated.
At the end of one school year, the kids’ cafeteria refunded six dollars, which had not been needed in May. I, in turn, gave the money back to Mom, telling her I’d struggled over that six dollars, for it would have bought three gallons of milk, and our family was going through five gallons of milk every week.
The next Thursday (on our Ladies Night Out), Mom handed me an envelope containing the money and a note: “Michelle,” she wrote, “I’m proud of you for being honest. You’re a good girl.”
The next day I bought milk, which was quickly used up, but kept the note because—well, because my mom was proud of me and said so.
We won’t always have someone to build us up, though. When all else fails, we must be our own cheerleaders. What do cheerleaders do? They are in the business of liking and encouraging the home team.
Be a light unto yourself, said the gentle Jesuit Anthony De Mello. We cannot love ourselves without self-respect, and one of the ways we earn our own respect is by keeping our word. I promised I wouldn’t let my grandma live in a nursing home, but four times she landed in a convalescent center, and four times I brought her home again. That is one of the things I’m most proud of in my life. I like myself. (Quantum God, Part Two/3. “We maintain our own self-esteem.)
I’ve got you, babe.