The most radical thing you can do in the land we now inhabit is to love yourself. I mean really, love yourself. That type of love is beyond selfies, ‘Gram posts, video hits and likes. It’s beyond the reach and opinion of other people. This love cannot be defined by the witness and presence of other people.
Love is defined in three ways. Two are nouns: (1) an intense feeling of affection of (2) a person or a thing that one loves. The last is what is called eros, erotic or romantic love. However, self-love is or can be defined as to “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Whereas this would be seen as selfishness or vanity, it is not. It’s not a bad thing to be aware of yourself, your needs and wants. It is not selfish for you to be aware of yourself. It is not selfish to be aware of your hurts, fears and frailties.
It is not vanity to be introspective. It is not vanity to be self-aware and present–present in your own life. It is not vanity to acknowledge your own presence, participation and contribution to the life you lead. In acknowledging your entire self, in all parts, you become a sentient being. A being with autonomy, passions, history and future. You indeed are you.
The act of self-love is radical. It involves what a good friend of mine calls *shadow work. It’s unpleasant, it’s hard, and it’s freeing. It is the gathering of the broken pieces of yourself in order to be whole again–recognizing them as still pieces of yourself, and you are worthy of healing and not weight. In loving yourself, you have to become able to love the things you don’t like about yourself, the dirty secret things you will never reveal to even your Creator. Forgiveness is a part of shadow work. Being able to look at whatever you have done, and own it. It is a portion, not the definition, of whom you are.
When you can love yourself when it is hardest to, this is a portion of what it means to love yourself. When you can begin to see yourself as entire being of and for value, this is the beginning of loving yourself–practicing self-love and care.
Life is a journey dear one, do not fear it.
There will be times where the hardest thing to be is yourself–however, that is the only person you cannot do this life without. The beginning to love yourself is to remember you cannot do life without you.
(Luke 1:37: For with God, nothing shall be impossible.)
*-There will be a post about Shadow Work later this month.