‘Self love’ is something that is preached and a semblance of the message is found everywhere you turn.
On social media, tv adverts,billboards the message is clear;
YOU come first
Everything or something is about YOU
There is a lot to be said about loving oneself and thinking about yourself in a healthy manner. There are a lot of issues that can arise from having low self esteem and I strongly believe that the ability to love others comes from having a healthy love of yourself.
However like most things in life this message is one to be applied with moderation.
My worldview /values have been formed through the lens of my faith. This lens means loving God and loving my neighbour as myself are paramount in how I live my life.
Contrary to some of the one sided ‘love your self’ messages that we are inundated with today, self love is not self absorption.
It is not;
One of my favourite bible passages,1 Corinthians 13 forms the lens through which I view Love;
Love is patient and kind.
It is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
It never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
This template can be turned both inward and outward as a basis for how we love ourselves and others.
Are you patient & kind with yourself?
I find that self compassion precedes extending compassion to others. Cambridge compassion and mindfulness psychology states that – ‘Seeking pleasure to avoid suffering is a false remedy that silently builds suffering, while diminishing our tolerance to it. Indulgence can never be self–compassion because its primary motive is to avoid suffering. Conversely, the purpose of self–compassion is to acknowledge, weather, and learn from suffering.’
I know ‘suffering’ is not a palatable thought,however suffering in this context refers to the ability to build emotional resilience. Notice how parents who have had to deal with a baby who cried a lot often are the ones to reassure someone else who is going through the same.They can fully understand and empathise with the situation as they probably had to ‘suffer’ the same in the past.
Are you jealous,boastful and rude to others? It is not as easy to be jealous,boastful or rude to yourself so in this instance,it is worth applying the golden rule -Do unto others as you would want done to you.How do you feel when other people exhibit these behaviours to you? A recognition of discomfort often arouses a predisposition to not reciprocate said behaviours.
Demanding your own way all the time points to an inflexible attitude to life is.I believe one of the biggest issues we have in the world today is the inability to view issues from another viewpoint. If only we could step out of our own assumptions,biases and pre suppositions.
It is really amazing how much we can learn by this simple act.
Truth and justice are often seen as antithetical to love
One of the best ways to love yourself is to face up to your own truths.
‘The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we’re afraid.We fear we will not find love,and when we find it we fear we’ll lose it. We fear that if we don’t have love we will be unhappy. ‘- Richard Bach
If we are able to speak truth to ourselves, we can speak truth in love to others. This also often translates to a love of justice. The ability to speak truth to power is one of the core tenets of one who loves justice. As Mark Konrad states’ If you keep silent about injustice,you are giving consent to it’.
The last characteristic of love stated in 1 Cor 13 – Never giving up definitely goes against the grain of todays ‘cancel’ culture. ‘
‘Cancel culture’ simply means cutting people off after an offence has occurred. While I totally agree that’s there are toxic people who are best loved from far, cancel culture means that we now give up on people too easily.
It is evident in friendships, work relationships,marriages, familial relationships etc.
I can’t count how many times I have been puzzled at the incidents that actually cause life long rifts between friends,family etc.
It is virtually impossible to go through life without having conflicts especially with those who are closest to us.
Never giving up in love means that conflicts don’t always need to end relationships.
Can we begin extend a bit more grace to each other? So maybe practise the pause and give another chance before blocking or deleting that number?
As always,thank you so much for reading what is essentially my thoughts all poured out on a page. Have a lovely Tuesday and week ahead.
Photo credit- Pinterest