Session 2: Thinking about Myself and My World

By the end of this session participants should be able to . . .

  • identify themselves as someone of real worth to God as the “jewel of His Creation”
  • discuss our divine worth in light of our continual sinfulness
  • define repenting as turning back to who we really are and God created us to be
  • discuss how hating our self leads us to harm ourselves and other parts of God’s Creation

Note to Leader

This session, along with many of the sessions in this unit require participants to talk openly about personal feelings and experiences. Be sure to create a safe and trusting atmosphere where they can do this. Remind participants that personal things mentioned during the session should not be topics for discussion outside the group.

Also, you should discuss with participants that any reference to harming themselves or others will need to be discussed with the priest, parents, and/or others who might be able to help.

Useful Texts

  • Gen. 1:26-30;. 2:4-25; 5:1
  • Psalm 8:6
  • Ecc 12:7
  • Job 32:8
  • Isaiah 49:1
  • Matthew 6:25; 16: 15-18
  • Romans 3:1
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16
  • John 3:16
  • 1 Peter 3:3
  • St. Gregory of Sinai: “To truly know yourself is a feat greater than raising the dead.”

Introduction - Two Truths and a Lie

Provide participants with paper and pens/pencils. Say, “Next to our relationship with God, one of the most important relationships in our life is our relationship with ourselves. How we think and feel about ourselves is often crucial to all our other relationships. It directly affects the ethical choices we make from day to day. Write down two truths you’ve discovered about yourself and one thing that someone said about you that you know isn’t true.”

Have each person read the three things and have the group guess which is the lie.

  • Which was harder for you to think of, the truths or the lie?
  • Which do you think has had a greater impact on your life?

Discussion - Who am I?

Say, “We have already discussed how God is always there for us, teaching us, helping us, and trying to lead us closer to Him, the Source of our lives.

  • What does this tell us about ourselves? How important does God think we are? Why do you say that?”

Discuss their answers, pointing out whatever is most relevant to the objectives if this session.

Brainstorm everything they think the Church teaches about who human persons are?

What the Bible Says about Who We Are

Write the following citations on a visible surface:

  • Gen. 1:26-30
  • Gen. 2:4-25
  • Gen. 5:1
  • Psalm 8:6
  • Ecc 12:7
  • 1Peter 3:3
  • Job 32:8
  • Rom. 3:1
  • Isaiah 49:15
  • 2 Cor 4:1
  • Jn 3:16
  • Matt 6:25

Give each participant one or more citations to look up. Say, “Just as the Church tells us about who God is and helps us know him, the Church also tells us a lot about who we are. Look up your Bible citation(s) and ask yourself, ‘What does this citation say about who I am as a human person created by God?’ and write down your answer next to your citation (on the large visible surface - chalk board, newsprint, etc.).”

When everyone has finished, ask each participant to explain their answer.

Summarize by saying, “God created us to be the shining jewel of His creation; Kings and Queens who take care of all living things and use them to glorify God. Unfortunately, we, as human beings, spend more trying to do things without Him than doing what we were made to do.”

Say, “These are things we all share. God also gives each of us things that make us unique and special; things that we are supposed to use for Him. We have different color hair, skin, and eyes. We each are given special talents, abilities, and interests. We are even given different backgrounds and environments to grow up and live in. One of the most wonderful things that God gives us is a name. “

The Meaning of Names

Have someone read Matt 16:15-18 (the naming of Peter). Say, “Jesus knew more about Peter than Peter did and renamed him. Each of us was given a special name at our baptism.”

Prior to the session go to the library and check-out books on the meaning of names. Bring them into class along with books on the lives of Saints that the participants might be named after. If you do not have a parish library with these types of things, ask your parish priest for any sources he may have on the lives of Saints.

Tell participants to look through all the sources and find all the possible meanings of their names and the specific qualities that their patron saint had.

Ask and discuss the following questions:

  • Does the meaning of your name according to the books fit with who you are? How, or how not?” Depending on the participants, you may want to allow other participants to respond to the person’s answers. [Ex. But you are a brave person. Remember when we were at that party and everyone wanted you to drink, and you didn’t]
  • Are there any ways that you and your patron saint are alike? How? In what ways are you different?

Worksheet on 1 Cor 13:4-8a

Copy and hand out the worksheet “Looking at Myself,”giving participants about 5-7 minutes to complete it.

Ask and discuss the following:

  • Did you learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before? What?
  • What were some things you listed for how we harm ourselves and others when we are not loving?
  • Based upon what we have discussed what do you think is the Christian way we should feel about ourselves? [Love ourselves as creations of God, hate the sin we do, seek to be the person God created us to be.]
  • What are some other ways that society and others tell us to think and feel about ourselves? [I am only important if I am beautiful, have money, and/or am powerful.]

Journal Reflection

Thinking about everything we have discussed, write a poem, essay, story, song, etc. entitled “Me: Who I Am and Who I Want to Be.”

Session Conclusion

There is a saying that “God don’t make no junk.” Sometimes we forget that, always wishing we were more “this” or less “that.” Other times we get so into being the person we think we “need to be,” we forget that only one person truly knows who we are: God. The more we come to know God and have a real relationship with Him, the more we will truly know ourselves, become the people we want to be, and not make decisions that will hurt us and our world.

Evaluating One's Self Worksheet