Claris, a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, has updated FileMaker to version 19.6. It includes important feature enhancements and more than 100 bug fixes.
FileMaker 19.6 also has support for the latest Apple operating systems — macOS Venture, iOS 16, and iPadOS 16. The update also adds several new control tools.
FileMaker 19.6 is available in two subscription options: Essentials and Standard. You can find details at https://www.claris.com/pricing/.
Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Medical News Today only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
People can use essential oils as home remedies for a variety of ailments. Some essential oils can ease migraine symptoms and stress; However, research is limited, and buyers should be cautious when trying essential oils for headaches.
Essential oils are concentrated liquids extracted from plants. Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine based on these oils. Aromatherapists believe that each essential oil offers a different set of health benefits.
People can apply essential oils topically. However, people must dilute the drops in a carrier oil and apply them to the skin. People must never ingest essential oils.
Research does support some of the health benefits of specific essential oils. This article explores five of the best essential oils for treating headaches according to supporting scientific evidence.
Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
Essential oils are generally safe when a person follows the product’s instructions, and some research has found essential oils effective for headaches.
For instance, a 2021 review found that essential oils can help ease migraine symptoms. The authors wrote that essential oils might reduce neurogenic inflammation and pain sensitivity and relax vascular tension.
Scientists looking into the effects of basil essential oil on migraine found that it decreased the intensity and frequency of migraine over 3 months, and higher doses of basil oil may produce more improvements. The participants applied the essential oil topically every 8 hours and took acetaminophen every 12 hours.
2019 research found similar results with anise essential oil, although the authors noted that longer-term studies are needed.
Overall, there is a lack of up-to-date research on this topic.
There are several different ways that people can use essential oils to treat a headache, including:
As with many alternative remedies, the FDA does not regulate essential oils. For this reason, it is important to buy from a reputable brand. Reputable brands will state how they manufacture oils and which ingredients are in the bottle and will not make any health claims.
Essential oils are generally safe when a person uses them properly. If an individual does not dilute an oil into a carrier oil before application, it could cause skin irritation. Additionally, the National Cancer Institute writes that citrus-based oils can cause skin burns if a person exposes the skin to the sun after use.
Lavender and tea tree oil may also have hormonal effects in some people. Studies have found these oils to produce effects similar to the sex hormone estrogen and reduce the effect of male sex hormones.
Some people are also allergic to essential oils, even in their diluted form, so it may be helpful to put a small amount on a patch of skin to test for any allergic reaction first. If there is no reaction within 48 hours, the oil is safe to use.
Reviewing a safety guide on best practices for using essential oils may be helpful. If an individual has any existing health conditions, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor before using these substances.
Several studies show specific essential oils may be beneficial for headaches.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
A 2022 review suggests that inhaling lavender essential oil can be a safe and effective treatment for managing acute migraine.
An older 2016 study found that participants self-reported a lower Migraine Disability Assessment Score (MIDAS) after 3 months of lavender essential oil therapy.
2020 research looked at the effects of lavender oil aroma on people going through bone marrow biopsy. It found that inhaling this essential oil helped reduce anxiety in these participants.
An example of a lavender essential oil available online is Nature’s Truth 100% Pure Lavender Essential Oil.
This oil is available in a 0.51 fl oz bottle and is suitable for aromatherapy, massages, baths, and topical use. Nature’s Truth writes that this oil only contains lavender oil.
The company warns people not to apply the oil directly to the skin. People must first blend it with carrier oil.
This product has a list price of around $8, making it a very affordable option.
Practitioners have traditionally used rosemary essential oil to treat a variety of ailments. An older 2015 systematic review of essential oils suggests that rosemary may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Another study suggests that rosemary oil may have pain-alleviating properties and may be more effective in easing pain when individuals combine it therapeutically with analgesic drugs.
The above research indicates that rosemary oil may help reduce the pain associated with a headache. However, more studies on humans are necessary before scientists can confirm this finding.
An example of a product available online is NOW Essential Oils 100% Pure Rosemary.
This oil is available in a 2 fl oz bottle and is suitable for use in a diffuser. The company recommends using a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, for all other uses.
The company states the product contains pure rosemary oil and does not test its products on animals.
This product has a list price of around $14.
People have been using peppermint medicinally for thousands of years. It is one of the most popular essential oils for treating headaches.
This 2015 review of published studies on essential oils states that applying peppermint oil to the temples and forehead helps ease tension headaches.
The active ingredient in peppermint oil is menthol — research shows this substance also may be effective in treating migraine when a person applies it in gel form to the head.
However, the research on peppermint oil is very limited. Additionally, it can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes when people apply it topically. It is also unclear whether pregnant or breastfeeding individuals can use it safely.
An example of a product available to purchase online is NOW Essential Oils 100% Pure Peppermint.
This oil is available in a 4 fl oz bottle and is suitable for aromatherapy use and topical use with a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba oil.
The company writes that it only contains pure peppermint oil and can have a cooling and revitalizing effect.
This product has a list price of around $20.
People traditionally drink chamomile tea to relax, unwind, and soothe symptoms of discomfort, pain, or congestion from allergies or a cold. Chamomile essential oil may have a similar effect in helping reduce a range of inflammations throughout the body.
Older research shows that chamomile oil might Strengthen some symptoms of anxiety and depression. Since some headaches can be due to anxiety or stress, relieving stress with chamomile oil may help alleviate the headache.
The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile themselves may also reduce a headache, though more research is necessary to investigate its health benefits.
However, high concentrations of chamomile oil can lead to toxicity. People should ensure they dilute the oil before using it topically.
An example of a product available to buy online is Edens Garden Roman Chamomile Oil. This oil is available in 0.17, 0.33, and 1 fl oz bottles. As with any essential oil product, it is important to use a carrier oil, such as almond oil, if a person wishes to use it topically.
The company writes that it sources its ingredients sustainably and responsibly, and it does not test on animals.
This chamomile oil has a list price ranging from around $29–87 depending on size, making it one of the more expensive oils available on the market.
People also traditionally use eucalyptus to clear sinuses and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Additionally, there is evidence it may help treat muscle and joint pain and regulate the nervous system to reduce headaches. One older study found that inhaled eucalyptus oil relieves pain and lowers blood pressure.
An example of a product to purchase online is Cliganic USDA Organic Eucalyptus Oil.
This certified organic oil is available in a 0.33 or 1 fl oz bottle. The company recommends using this oil with a diffuser but also states it is suitable for topical use with a carrier oil.
According to the product labeling, it is Non-GMO Project Checked and USDA Organic. The company also writes that its products are third-party tested.
This product has a list price of around $9–15, depending on size.
The following are some factors to consider before purchasing essential oils:
The table below compares each of the essential oils in this article.
It is important to contact a healthcare professional if a person experiences recurrent headaches or headaches that impact their quality of life. A doctor can help determine the cause of their headaches, help people decide on treatment methods, and offer lifestyle changes that may help reduce the frequency or severity of headaches.
Anyone who uses essential oils and experiences contact dermatitis or any signs of an allergic reaction should discontinue use immediately and seek medical advice.
If a person believes they are having an allergic reaction — such as developing rash, hives, or finding it difficult to breathe or speak — they should seek immediate medical attention. Learn more about treating allergic reactions.
People should be conscious of the risk of an allergic reaction, even if they have used a certain essential oil before. Bottles of essential oils from different brands can have various concentrations of plant matter, and a person may react differently to these concentrations.
Below, we answer some of the top frequently asked questions about essential oils for headaches.
If a person is applying essential oils topically, they must use a carrier oil. Examples include olive oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil. A person should research reputable sources that state the appropriate dilution measurements.
After diluting the essential oil, people can apply it directly to the forehead or temples, being careful to avoid the eyes.
Other methods include placing drops on a cold water compress, using a diffuser, or mixing the oil in a bath.
Some essential oils that may help reduce headache pain include lavender, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile, and eucalyptus.
Some essential oils can cause harm to the fetus while a person is pregnant.
People should avoid using essential oils while pregnant or breastfeeding. If they wish to try essential oils, they should speak with a board certified doctor.
People have used essential oils for generations for relaxation and the treatment of various ailments. Some scientific evidence suggests that specific essential oils might be particularly beneficial for reducing headache symptoms. These are lavender, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile, and eucalyptus oils.
However, more up-to-date research is needed to determine how effective and safe essential oils are for headaches.
The custom database and app-building platform FileMaker by Claris has been updated with full macOS Ventura compatibility.
Claris FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server have been updated to version 19.6.1 with a host of improvements, including macOS Ventura compatibility. The app also now supports the Sign in with Apple authentication option.
Health care systems are on the front lines of the climate crisis — anchoring disaster response while coping with growing health impacts from heatwaves, wildfires and other weather-related threats. Hardest hit are essential hospitals, which care for the nation’s most climate-vulnerable patients.
Within this challenge lies an opportunity. Given their stature in the most-impacted communities, essential hospitals could lead a holistic approach to climate and health. But in a time of strained resources and unrelenting demand, most lack the capacity to do so. With more federal funding, essential hospitals could Strengthen health, equity and climate resilience in the most vulnerable communities.
The need for resilience is clear: climate change is impacting human and planetary health and the window of opportunity to secure a livable future is closing fast.
Extreme heat, the deadliest climate impact, exacerbates chronic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory illness and diabetes. Rising temperatures trigger other insidious effects on human health and well-being, including food-, water- and vector-borne illness, along with mental health impacts and more.
The health burdens of climate change are not borne equally.While all Americans are at risk, low-income communities and communities of color are particularly vulnerable.Worse, climate impacts are layered atop existing inequities. Low-income communities and communities of color already bear higher disease burdens and lower life expectancies than more affluent and white populations. In effect, climate change is a threat multiplier for factors that contribute to disease and widen inequality.
These challenges are felt most acutely by the country’s essential hospitals, which care for patients regardless of their insured status or ability to pay. Essential hospitals provide a disproportionate share of the nation’s uncompensated care and typically operate with little or no profit margin. The patients who rely on essential hospitals are often economically disadvantaged, members of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, often with complex clinical needs — all factors that put them at heightened risk from the health impacts of climate change.
Essential hospitals — and the health sector generally — have considerable power to effect change. Representing nearly 20 percent of U.S. GDP, the health sector can leverage its purchasing power to drive the transition to clean energy and a low-carbon supply chain. And essential hospitals serve as vital anchor institutions in the most-impacted communities, where they can address the factors that heighten vulnerability.
The health sector also plays a role in actually causing climate change. Despite its healing mission and commitment to “do no harm,” the health care industry is among the most carbon-intensive service sectors in the industrialized world, producing up to 4.6 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. health care system is responsible for about one-quarter of the global sector’s emissions — a larger share than any other nation.This outsized impact provides an important lever for change.
While the problems of climate change and inequity create a vicious cycle of harm, the solutions to these problems can create a “virtuous circle” of mutually reinforcing benefits. For example, emissions reductions that also cut air pollution can immediately mitigate suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases. And less air pollution means lower health care costs and reduced pressure on overburdened hospitals.
The potential benefits are staggering. In the United States, eliminating fossil fuel pollution could save 100,000 lives and $880 billion annually. Over the long term, air quality improvements alone could substantially offset, or even exceed, the costs of climate change mitigation.
With the motive and the means to address climate change and inequity, health systems are taking action. For example, Washington state-based Providence hospital system is reducing waste, switching to renewable energy, purchasing local and sustainable foods and phasing out climate-changing anesthetic agents. Providence has cut emissions at its hospitals by nearly 12 percent and 26 of its facilities operate entirely on renewable energy.
And the Impact Purchasing Commitment, created by the Healthcare Anchor Network in partnership with Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm, directs health care purchasing toward industries that decrease their carbon footprint, produce safer products and services and grow economic opportunities for businesses owned by people of color and women.
Despite resource constraints, members of America’s Essential Hospitals are also taking steps to reduce their energy use and lower emissions. For example, Atrium Health in North Carolina cut energy use by 20 percent, winning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Energy Star Partner of the Year” award for three consecutive years. The resulting cost savings enabled Atrium to donate $10 million toward affordable housing in the communities it serves.
Importantly, essential hospitals are working to build environmental and social resilience in the communities they serve. For example, Boston Medical Center — one of the largest essential hospital and level 1 trauma centers in New England — worked with local stakeholders to identify the top challenges facing its patient population: housing instability and food insecurity. In response, Boston Medical Center has invested nearly $7 million since 2017 to support community projects on housing and nutritional health.
These inspiring examples notwithstanding, relatively few essential hospitals have the capacity to mitigate and prepare for climate change.
That could change. Currently, there is unprecedented momentum at the intersection of climate, health and equity. In addition to issuing an executive order requiring federal agencies to decarbonize their facilities, the Biden administration created a new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity in the Department of Health and Human Services. This new office launched the Health Care Sector Climate Pledge, asking health care stakeholders to commit to halving their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and building more climate-resilient infrastructure. It’s a call to action that has already been met by 102 of the nation’s largest health systems.
President Biden also signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which will invest $369 billion to drive the growth of clean energy and cut the nation’s carbon footprint. It will deliver financial support to enable health systems to cut emissions, while helping overburdened communities reduce pollution and make zero-emission infrastructure more affordable.
Collectively, these initiatives create a unique opportunity for transformation in the health sector. To achieve the greatest impact, the federal government must prioritize investments in essential hospitals that serve communities on the front lines of climate change and health inequity. With more resources, essential hospitals can engage communities to define and implement just, equitable solutions to the great climate and health challenges of our time.
Kalpana Ramiah, DrPH, is vice president of innovations and director of Essential Hospitals Institute at America’s Essential Hospitals.
Gary Cohen is president of Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth.
Police in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have detained at least four people for more than a week after they attended protests against COVID-19 restrictions in late November, according to activists, family members and friends of the detained
1 hour ago
Essential oils have become immensely popular over the past decade. Clove essential oil is derived from the flower buds of the Eugenia caryophyllata tree, a member of the myrtle family. While originally native to just a few islands in Indonesia, cloves are now cultivated in several places around the world.
Clove essential oil has long been a popular remedy for tooth pain. Reports of it being used for this purpose date back more than 300 years. In China, it has been used for multiple purposes for more than 2,000 years, including as an antiparasitic agent.
Clove essential oil has become synonymous with health and wellness for some of its fans. However, there are serious health risks associated with the substance. Research can help you find the boundary between healthful and harmful.
There isn’t readily available information on the nutritional make-up of clove essential oil. This is because clove essential oil isn’t particularly safe to ingest. The substance eugenol, which is a major component of clove essential oil, can be toxic in high concentrations. If you want to flavor your food with cloves, it's advisable to use the dry spice.
A single teaspoon of ground cloves contains approximately:
In terms of vitamins and minerals, cloves are high in:
The best internal benefit of clove essential oil has been apparent for many generations now — its fabled effectiveness for easing toothaches.
Treating Dental Pain
The use of clove oil on a toothache was first documented in 1649 in France. It continues to be a popular solution today, thanks to the powerful molecule, eugenol. Eugenol is a natural anesthetic.
While clove essential oil is good for treating pain, there is insufficient evidence that it also effectively kills the bacteria causing the problem.
Treating Dental Erosion
Some acidic foods and drinks may decalcify (break down) tooth enamel. Eugenol in clove oil, when used as a topical treatment, may reverse or minimize the effects of dental erosion, one study found.
However, more research is needed to fully explore the benefits of clove oil as a treatment or preventive ointment for tooth enamel erosion.
As mentioned, there are some serious health risks to ingesting clove essential oil. In high enough doses, it is toxic to humans.
Toxic Effects on the Liver
Case studies have been reported involving the ingestion of toxic amounts of clove oil (10-30 ml, or roughly 2-6 teaspoons). Symptoms include agitation, declining consciousness, and coma.
Symptoms emerged within hours of ingesting the essential oil. Signs of liver injury, including jaundice, arose between 12 and 24 hours after ingestion. Those most likely to experience liver injury are infants and young children.
Even when not ingested, eugenol has been known to cause allergic reactions during dental procedures. Dentists have used eugenol mixed with different materials to create impressions and fillings for more than a century.
In that time, eugenol has been observed to cause mild to severe allergy symptoms in some patients. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to dental eugenol have been reported to include irritation at the application site and raised welts across the body.
If you have psoriasis—an autoimmune skin disorder that causes scaling and patches—you know how frustrating it can be to deal with constant, bothersome, itchy, and scaly skin patches. In general, using oil as a moisturizer can be helpful when your skin feels dry. As a result, you may have considered using essential oils to help calm your skin as part of your prescribed treatment regimen.
However, before you apply any kind of essential oil to your skin, keep in mind that there has been little evidence or randomized clinical trials that essential oils can work to relieve psoriasis symptoms, said Matthew Lewis, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University.
With that as a caveat, our experts stressed that, anecdotally, they have seen patients experience psoriasis relief thanks to the use of certain essential oils. "Ultimately, your goal should be to look for essential oils that calm the skin and help with scarring," said Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
Keep in mind is that you should always speak to your healthcare provider before using essential oils in your regimen to make sure they don't interact with any of your other medications. You should also test the essential oil on a small patch of your skin first, as some essential oils can cause allergic reactions or irritate your skin.
Here are a few essential oils that may help with your psoriasis symptoms.
Lavender is commonly promoted for topical use. "Lavender has been known to boost circulation and oxygen to the skin," Dr. Engelman said. "Lavender oil contains certain properties that help to condition the skin, ultimately providing calming and hydrating benefits that Strengthen the appearance of new or old scars." Dr. Engleman also said that lavender's anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties can also help to expedite healing.
"Rose oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which are great for calming redness and for helping relieve sensitive skin," Dr. Engelman said. "It's very emollient, meaning that it's good for locking in moisture and hydration as well"—which may, in part, be due to its antibacterial properties according to a January 2018 Cosmetics article.
Researchers noted that tea tree oil may be helpful in treating psoriasis. "Tea tree oil can be helpful due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties," Dr. Lewis explained. "It may help reduce scaliness as well."
You could also try bergamot oil for relief. According to a Molecules article published in March 2022, the effectiveness of bergamot oil appears to be due to 5-methoxypsoralen (5-MOP). This is a plant-based chemical compound that may have anti-inflammatory properties. 5-MOP is used during psoralen plus ultraviolet-A (PUVA) radiation therapy, which is another treatment for psoriasis.
If you find that essential oils—or natural remedies in general—are not effective in alleviating your psoriasis symptoms, you still have other topical options to treat the skin condition. The majority of psoriasis treatments, according to the AAD, will be topical options. These choices may include:
Coconut oil could also help those who have psoriasis. "This is a really good and gentle oil to apply on the skin," Dr. Lewis said, clarifying that it's not technically an essential oil. However, Dr. Lewis still recommended it to his patients for its anti-inflammatory properties. "[It] can help my psoriasis patients who are experiencing painful scales; it's good for moisturizing the skin and coconut allergies are rare," Dr. Lewis said.
Another natural remedy that might offer psoriasis relief too is Mahonia aquifolium, also known as berberine. According to a December 2018 Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology review, M. aquifolium is known to help reduce inflammation, which has led to its use with skin conditions. The authors of the review noted that M. aquifolium was helpful for improving psoriasis symptoms in a number of studies.
Overall, it's worth talking with your healthcare provider if you're interested in trying natural remedies for psoriasis or want to know about more treatments for your case.
Late last summer I was settling into a new apartment and into a routine of preparation for my first time teaching introductory theology at a Catholic liberal arts college in northeastern Wisconsin. I opened my small maroon journal and began my regular practice of reflecting on the day that had passed.
My entries included a range of emotions. There were reasons for gratitude: I went to a riverside concert with my roommate. The WiFi in our apartment had been installed after a delay of a couple weeks. I had a list of things to do the next day: meet with a former professor and now colleague to go over my syllabus, finish my syllabus, and write a letter to a friend.
I also made one short note with a minus sign next to it: “I hurt myself this morning and was cruel to myself. I hate myself.”
Reading those lines now makes me pensive, sorrowful and a little scared. I wish I could reach out to myself across time and tell him that life will get better as he asks for help. I also want to remind him that he has always been, is, and always will be loved unconditionally by God, a truth that is easier for his future self to accept.
Part of hating myself came from my inability to be honest about what I had done to myself that morning. Even in the privacy of my journal, and even to God in prayer, I could not bear to write down the fact that, over the past several months, when I felt extremely stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated, I had started slapping myself.
The same day I wrote the intentionally vague line in my journal—I hurt myself and was cruel to myself—I had also sunk my nails into my calves until I drew blood. I was praying to God for relief from my misery as I did so. I could not see that I was putting myself through a misery that God would never want me to experience.
Part of my hatred of myself came from the reasons I harmed myself that day. I hurt myself because there was a delay in the installation of wireless Internet in my apartment. I thought not having the wi-fi set up in my apartment would make me look incompetent and rude to my new roommate. From my perspective while journaling, this was a pathetic reason to injure myself, yet earlier in the day that reason seemed so momentous that injuring myself was the only “right” and “logical” thing to do.
Another part of my hatred came from my repeated use of self-harm as a coping mechanism. Sinking my nails into my skin was the most severe episode, but several months previously I had started to slap myself whenever I felt like I was losing control. At that time, I had ended a job that provided my housing and moved three times in two months before finding a stable place to live. In these situations where I lacked control, where I did not know exactly what my future would hold, I failed to be patient. I failed to reach out to my loved ones. I did not trust God.
Instead, I latched onto my crutch of perfectionism, deciding that to be “perfect like my heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48) meant I had to always do and be “right.” In a way, I tried to set myself up as my own god. And I was an unforgiving, exacting and ultimately violent god.
Part of my self-hatred came from my continuing struggle to search for and accept help for my mental health. I had gone to therapy a few times in the last half of 2020 at the urging of my sisters, and it helped with my thoughts and habits of self-degradation for a few months.
However, I had gone onstage as an actor for over a decade. When those thoughts and habits of self-destruction started creeping back into my daily life, I knew how to play the role of a stable, happy, productive person and hide the reality of my life from my family, my friends and myself.
“I hurt myself this morning” covered up the full reality of how I had physically harmed the body God has given me. It canceled out the truth that God cherishes me, and wishes to raise me up in the resurrection on the last day. You could also say “I hurt myself” was also about the extent to which I was hurting myself through my dishonesty, perfectionism and refusal to seek help with my mental health.
All these habits damaged my relationship with God and the loving people in my life.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus prays that all who believe in him may be one and be brought to perfection in the unity between himself and the Father (John 17:20-23). I believe that communion with God is our goal as Christians and our fulfillment as people. By hurting myself, I was missing the target of my fundamental purpose. Both the Hebrew chata and Greek hamartia mean "to miss the mark", and these are the principal words used in the Bible for sin. By hurting myself and believing that I needed and deserved to be hurt, I was sinning.
I thought I was trying to love God and my neighbors with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength by being a perfect Christian, son, sibling, friend and worker; by never admitting my failures and doubts or asking for help with my struggles. In reality, I was failing to recognize that I needed to love my neighbor as much as I loved myself, as the rest of that passage goes. (Mk 12:30-31) And I was not loving God by recognizing and accepting the infinite and abiding love God had for me.
In my unhealthy pursuit of divine perfection, I could not, or would not, read the passage in Luke 6:36 that parallels Matthew 5:48: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Mercy is the divine trait Jesus tells us to emulate and that he modeled in his ministry, death and resurrection. It involves loving the people pushed to the margins of our societies.
More specifically, mercy involves acts of charity addressing suffering and acts of justice addressing the root causes of that suffering. Mercy also involves acknowledging and healing the traits that push us to the margins of our own self worth: our own weaknesses, our fears, our limits and our sorrows.
Our perfection, my perfection, does not come from exercising total control over life. It is not about knowing what to say or do in every situation. It is not about magically getting the Internet set up on time. It comes from gratefully receiving God’s mercy and humbly embodying and extending it to others in our daily lives.
God has extended immense mercy to me in my support network. The people to whom I eventually disclosed my episodes of self-harm urged me to return to therapy. My friends and my therapist challenged me to honestly confront how, through my play-acting, I was deceiving myself and them about my mental health. This network of friends, family and my therapist challenged me, fundamentally, to love myself honestly.
Perfectionism remains a part of my life. I am trying to become more comfortable asking for help with difficult tasks, sharing my sorrows or frustrations with others, and accepting the typos and small mistakes that are a part of everyday human life. Temptations to hurt myself in words and even, very rarely, in actions also persist. I am grateful to write that I have not followed the latter temptation into physically harming myself since last year.
God’s grace is active in the therapist I saw, in the people who love me, and in the habits of prayer I have cultivated. These all keep me on a safe path. God, through all these blessings, reminds me that I am closest to perfection when I am merciful with myself and others—imperfections and all. That truth about the need for mercy in my life, is always on my list of things to deliver thanks for. It is something I want to teach, and to practice.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental distress, mental illness or suicidal ideation, please call the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988.