A quote from Henri Nouwen (in The Only Necessary Thing), stolen from Dan Horwdel’s blog and edited to add paragraph breaks and emphasis:
“Prayer means entering into communion with the One who loved us before we could love. It is this “first love” (1 John 4:19) that is revealed to us in prayer. The more deeply we enter into the house of God, the house whose language is prayer, the less dependent we are on the blame or praise of those who surround us, and the freer we are to let our whole being be filled with that first love.
“As long as we are still wondering what other people say or think about us and trying to act in ways that will elicit a positive response, we are still victimized and imprisoned by the dark world in which we live. In that dark world we have to let our surroundings tell us what we are worth… As long as we are in the clutches of that world, we live in darkness, since we do not know our true self.
“We cling to our false self in the hope that maybe more success, more praise, more satisfaction will give us the experience of being loved, which we crave. That is the fertile ground of bitterness, greed, violence, and war.”