Confession Freed Me From Self-Hatred - A Letter from Megan
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As women living in a massively confusing culture, perhaps we are particularly susceptible to low self-esteem and, worse, self-hatred. Whatever the cause or origin, I was so full of self-loathing for so long that every thought, every word, and every action was governed by its lies. I, a Catholic woman, was embarrassed and ashamed by this, so I hid away and denied it all.
Hatred hung over me like a low cloud – like a fog that distorted everything. Friends were not friends, I thought, but rather inordinately kind souls that took pity on my wretched state and sacrificed themselves to spend time with me. After all, who could ever love me? My existence felt like some accident or cruel fate.
Every time I looked in the mirror I couldn’t bear the sight of what I considered to be my ugly face. I retreated into myself so as to not let anybody see me, for their sake and mine. I believed that the world would be much better off without me. I am not enough. I am not worthy of love. I have no worth at all.
I lived in that frame of mind for years, and to varying extents for my whole life. I couldn’t feel love at all, really. So, I proceeded through life with a shattered and darkened heart. My heart and mind were pre-occupied with hatred, and my soul suffocated under its weight. And so the pain grew and spread. I sank further and further into an abyss until I couldn’t see the truth. I didn’t see Truth Itself.
One Tuesday morning during Lent, I remember sitting at the dining room table and sobbing through the rosary. As tears streamed from my eyes I begged God to rid me of the pain that felt insurmountable and permanent. I can’t live like this anymore, I thought.
A Priest I spoke to soon after that experience encouraged me to go to Confession, declaring that the Lord would heal my open wounds if I’d only offer them to Him.
One day later I nervously walked into the confessional and finally admitted that I had rejected the truth of God’s love for me. I had turned myself away from the loving gaze of Christ.
Then Fr. David began, “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself….”
And I began to smile.
“Go in peace. Your sins have been put away.”
As I left the confessional I felt…new. I felt free.
I had finally stopped hiding in the shadows, wrongly thinking that somehow I could hide my true self from the One who made me. I had finally let go of myself. And I am finding myself entirely.
The fog is lifting. Somehow, in this mysterious way, He’s teaching me how to love.
As Catholic women, we have the grace given through Confession to urge us on as we struggle to carry our many various crosses. Go to Confession often, free from shame. There is nothing that He does not see. Do not try to hide from Him. Let Him tend to your wounds. Be healed! Cling to Him! He has made all things new. Be not afraid – it is He!
These days, instead of waking up wishing that I had not woken up to live yet another day, I wake up thanking God for another day to praise Him and live in His love. I no longer wake up to the lies.
So, what is the truth?
He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. He is calling you to Himself.
You were made for Him.
Run to Him.
Rest in His embrace.
Get to know Megan
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello! My name is Megan. I’m 24 years old living in a small town in Michigan with my two incredible roommates. I work in the marketing department at my alma mater, managing projects and building relationships with others. I’m a single lady, so I try to make the most of my time by serving the Church, learning and growing in the faith, laughing with my friends, working hard, and sometimes maybe working out…sometimes.
What do the first two hours of your day look like?
Mornings are the beeeest. I love watching the sunrise from the big window in our living room. The beams of sun hit the curtains and the hardwood floor at just the right angle and it’s just…mmm, so good.
Every day I wake up, shuffle downstairs in my fuzzy gray slippers, and try not to wake up my roommates as I make coffee (except during Lent when I gave up coffee, which was…rough. Ha!). I’m reading the entire Bible this year, so I spend part of the morning reading through scripture, then I read about a Saint (because they’re amazingggg), then I read from Cultivating Virtue – Self-Mastery with the Saints, pray through the Church’s daily readings ala Lectio Divina, then I finish up with a rosary. I love praying. Eventually, I get myself to work.
Describe your favorite part of your current occupation.
I love learning about people. Aren’t people fascinating?! Everyone has a story and I get to spend part of my time learning about those stories. I’ve been particularly inspired by Pope Francis and St. Theresa of Calcutta lately, in that they approach all of God’s children with the love and light of Christ. How the world would change if we each did that a little more often!
Describe one fear or personal challenge that keeps you up at night.
Sometimes it seems like everyone around me is finding love and getting married, which is so wonderful!! But, it can also be really tough. I feel really called to the married life but, well, I’m missing a few steps before that happens. Living in a small town with few prospects is a decision I’ve made, and I often wonder if I’m making the right decision. Until something changes, then, I suppose I’ll continue to geek out about Theology of the Body and get really crazy excited about the love my friends have found and the babies coming into the world!
Tell us about the first time you experienced a strong sense of belonging in the Catholic Church.
I joined the Catholic Church as a senior in college, and I distinctly remember being confirmed during the Easter vigil. As Fr. David made the sign of the cross on my forehead, I just about fell over. I had come home. Since then, as I’ve spent more time volunteering as part of the RCIA team and have developed relationships with other parishioners I’ve felt more at home than ever. Knowing how to be part of a parish is difficult for me at times, as I didn’t grow up in a church, but what a blessing it is to be a part of the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic church!
Tell us about a woman you look up to.
St. Catherine of Siena is #goals. The depth of her love inspires me daily. Lately I’ve thought a lot about her detachment from the world. She would give things away to those in need without any regard for the reprimand she would inevitably receive. She would approach the sick and diseased with nothing but love. She died to herself and was truly ruled by the love of Jesus and did all things for His glory. St. Catherine is brave and steady, and I love her. St. Catherine, pray for us!
Favorite character ever. Go!
I love the new, live-action Cinderella. Her character captivated me in a way that no other movie heroine really has except for maybe Barbara Wilberforce in Amazing Grace. Cinderella – or Ella – lived her life entirely guided by love and goodness. She was patient in affliction, kind to those who persecuted her, and could ride an enormous horse with impressive ability. I love Cinderella’s care and concern for the outcasts and the downtrodden. And, I love her relationship with the Prince – they meet as equals with complementary strengths. The Prince ain’t exactly awful to watch, but I mostly love seeing Cinderella, so sure and so kind and so courageous. Her strength came from love, not from force. Also, the woman spent an entire evening walking in glass heels and deserves mad props for that.