If you love her, treat her well. Makes sense when we are talking about being in a intimate relationship, but can we apply that phrase to self ? I would define Self-Love as liking and accepting oneself for who they truly are soulfully.
That means accepting one’s self for all the flaws and mistakes one has committed recently or in the past. Usually when others speak about self-love they include self-care, which is secondary to love of self. In order, to care for self there has to be love involved. When an individual does not love who they are, it results in self-abuse and self-sabotage from things they deserve in life. I will cover self-care in my post next week.
The Merriam-Webster’s definition is slightly similar to my definition of self-love, which is the love of self. Many tend to confuse self-love with narcissist, which both involve self but the perception of self is different.
The difference is self-love comes from the soul and narcissist is produced from the ego. In my last post of The Battle between the Soul and the Ego, I spoke about the ego being a mask of all the hurt, pain, and trauma one has not yet processed. Narcissism is defined by the Merriam-Webster as being extremely self-centered with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, followed by excessive admiration and infatuation with oneself.
There you have it, self-love is love of self and Narcissism is infatuation of self. Love is everlasting feeling and infatuation is temporary feeling. I come from a culture and family, where validating self and loving self is abnormal and may be seen as being selfish.
Growing up, I was taught how to have self-respect, but self-love was not a concept that was talked about. In my journey of professing self-love for myself, it resulted with treating myself to material possession that lead me to being in debt. I was still feeling unfilled. My journey started when I first went off to college. It was a time for me, where I finally starting to have the freedom to be who I felt I truly was.
Throughout my self-love journey is was interrupted by trials, tribulation, and my perfectionist issue. Being a perfectionist involves creating an illusion that is shaped in the mind from pain to scope a life without problems or issues.
Being perfectionist also allows you to live in a box nothing can go above or below your expectations of life. While it was not until later on last year that i figured out that my trials, tribulation, and my perfectionist problems were used by God to show how I truly felt about myself.
He used those issues to move me in the direction that he needed me to be in spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. The interesting thing is that he was answering my prayers, but not in the way I imagined or wanted. I was at point in my life, where he was revealing all of my flaws to others and myself. I did not like the way it felt.
God stripped me from the superficial version of self in order to transform me to the authentic version of self. Keeping my perfectionist views of self was allowing me to live a restricted, conformed, and prison-minded life. It was robbing me from potential and progress. I could only go so far with my perfectionist views on life.
My perfectionist issues also allowed me to continue to indulge in my people-pleasing behavior, in which I wanted look a certain way to others. People pleasing left me burnt out again in my graduate program. My hormonal acne and stress was a result of me pretending to be perfect. It funny to me because God revealed just how imperfect I am based on my skin. Following the true definition of love from 1Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) allowed me to like and accept who I am soulfully.
Love is Patient
I needed to learn that patience is key. I am very impatience especially when it comes to myself. I am patient with others, but not myself. Being a social worker, I have learned to be patience with others, in which I accomplish on a daily basis.
Being present in the moment was hard, but it was worth it. Living in the future required me to live with anxiety and living in the past required me to live in depression. Both of these mental health disorders was not going to exist in my life anymore. I needed to concentration loving me in the present moment. Who I wish to be is only an illusion, but it not my reality because it does not exist yet. Be patient in the process.
Love is Kind
Have you ever heard of the phrase that we are our worst critics? Well, I would agree with that phrase. Negative self-talk goes along with being a perfectionist. I can be very critical of my mistakes and short-comings. It does not help that I also come from a family, where we specialize in being critics for the lack of better words.
Some of the negative talk I heard from others, I believed it and played it in my head over and over again. This made me want to control opinions of others, which is impossible. I started positive self-talk instead like you are beautiful or you are free to love unconditionally. I began to profess my fears by telling myself I can do whatever I was fearful to commit by meditating those words.
Love Does Not Envy and Boast
Even though, I was not brave enough to call a spade a spade about myself. God revealed that comparing my life to others was a sign of envy. Social media is a set up for boasting and envy where many people show case their most cherished moments. Searching on social media and seeing others in different places I wished to be.
Envy did arise because I was comparing my life to others, which is unnecessary. It is unnecessary because my life is my life for a reason and the life of others is theirs for a reason. Comparing my life to others is a waste of time because I am not focus on improving self through my relationship with God. In the mist of loving myself, I need to always remain humble in who I am by embracing and appreciating who I am.
Love Does Not Dishonor Others and it is not Self-seeking
Loving who I am does not mean that I have permission to treat others, where they feel dishonored in my presence. This also goes along with gossiping about other’s lives. If I am focusing on my own problems, I no longer have time to worry about what others are doing or not doing in their spare time.
Real love of self will not allow me to feel insecure to the point where I sabotage others for benefit of myself. The love of Christ should be shown within in me, which means that same light should reflect on others also. Dimming someone else’s light does not make my light shine brighter.
Self-Love should be easy but in reality it is not. The reality is that we all grew in a imperfect world that taught us different ways of perfecting love, respect, and honor for self. The world’s way of perfect love is not the same as God’s perfect love. They contradict one another.
There is only one way that will bring everlasting and unconditional love for self that comes from relationship with the Lord above. Society tells me that my black is not beautiful, I have to cover the flaws on my face with make-up to be considered beautiful, or my strength as a woman is not cherished. Deep within there is love inside I must embrace.
Since my self-love journey is far from perfect, but the imperfection within me reveals the true beauty that reflects the beauty of the outer me. I must continue to love and profess the love to the Queen within me, which is called self-love not selfish!