Magnify is an LDS Living podcast where host Kathryn Davis and her guests discuss using their influence as followers of Jesus Christ to make a difference in the world. In the following excerpt from a recent episode, Kathryn talks with licensed clinical social worker Aliah Hall about how true self-love comes through claiming your divine identity.
This excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Kathryn Davis: Let me share this quote I love from Sister Patricia Holland. She said, “The person who is engaged in … a constant internal fight has little energy and power left to win the outside battles. To be successful in the many skirmishes of life, you cannot afford to be your own worst enemy.” Then she goes on to talk about how damaging “firing mortar shells into your very soul” can be.1 What do you think of that idea: in order to be successful, you cannot afford to be your own worst enemy?
Aliah Hall: In the scriptures, we hear about how people were stiffnecked, or they were hardhearted, and they were always in need of chastisement to stay on the straight and narrow road—and I think we’ve over-internalized that. So we have this belief in our culture, in our faith community, that if I’m constantly strict with myself, if I’m constantly telling myself how I’m not good enough or that I’m not doing well enough, somehow that’s going to keep me on the straight and narrow—and that is a lie of the adversary. Fear will not keep you on the straight and narrow. Love will.
And these mortal shells that Sister Holland talked about, I’ve found in my work that they often come from the inside. In our mind, we have this dialogue of, “I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not thin enough. I don’t know enough. I can’t do that.” And it is spiritually destroying, mentally exhausting, and physically detrimental. That dialogue is trying to convince us that we’re not who we are. We are children of the divine Creator! But if Satan can convince us that we are not, then he wins. He wins if he can convince you that you’re just some mom, you’re just some person, or that your life doesn’t really matter, that you’re not making a difference.
He wants you to think you failed so far back that there’s no point in even trying now because you can’t be forgiven. I mean, if you believe that, you’d just give up!
But if you wake up every morning and you think, “I am a queen. I am a priestess. I am a child of God,” then you get up every morning ready to take on the world.
And not only do I know that I am a queen, but I know that about every sister that I come in contact with. Every person I come in contact with I think, “Oh my gosh, there is the queen!” And I treat her differently because I treat me differently.
We have to claim our divine identity. We have to claim that and live up to it. I am a daughter of God and therefore need to be treated accordingly: first by me, and then by everyone else around me. When we understand who we are and we love and care for who we are, then what other people think becomes inconsequential.
- Patricia T. Holland, “Be Renewed in the Spirit of Your Mind” (Brigham Young University devotional, Sept. 6, 1988), speeches.byu.edu.