Love is everywhere. There have been thousands of songs and movies about love at first sight with a stranger from across the room, passionate forbidden love, and seasoned love strengthened through adversity over time. However, there isn’t much about self-love.
Maybe because so few people know what it is. We tend to love everyone else but ourselves. I can honestly say I’ve been in an abusive relationship with myself for the majority of my life. Like any toxic relationship, you have to make a decision to either change the behaviors at the root or leave it alone. Since I have to live with myself for the rest of my life, I’ve decided to get comfortable I’ve been in a newfound feeling of self-love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things1 Corinthians 13:4-8
When God expressed that I should love myself more than what I had been, I immediately questioned what that meant. How do you love yourself? What does that mean? Corinthians 13:4-5 jumped out at me as something to process.
Patient: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
Are you patient with yourself? I know I spent so many nights frustrated about what I was supposed to be doing by now. How long ago I was supposed to be married by. Where I was supposed to live. Things I am supposed to know and actions I am supposed to stop doing by when I am supposed to stop doing them by. All of that translates into some mental timeline and expectations set by you or society about your life. All that anger when things don’t work out the way you planned…let it go. Be patient. Life will happen when it’s supposed to, not a moment before or later.
Kind: having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.
Are you kind to yourself? Are you considerate or generous with dealing with yourself? How do you treat yourself when something goes wrong or you act out of old behaviors? My personal weakness has always been beating myself up. I spend a lot of time replaying moments in my head until I am worn out from my own thoughts while others either forgot, gave me the benefit of the doubt, or straight up moved on. Consider all the trauma and stress you’ve gone through in your life. It’s normal, just remember that it is. It’s okay to give yourself a break.
Friendly (not envious): favorably disposed; inclined to approve, help, or support.
Seriously, who can honestly say they are a friend to themselves? How often do we go out of our way to help ourselves? We often say we don’t have time to work out, cook food, read books, do our hobbies, or even just breathe for ourselves. Yet, we will move around schedules and bend over backward for anyone that asks us a favor. What if your body and mind are asking for a favor? Do you approve, help, or support yourself?
Modest (not boastful): free from ostentation or showy extravagance
Are you boastful? Or are you modest? I’m not talking about clothing but more of what clothing sometimes exemplifies. We are told not to draw extensive attention to most of the qualities mentioned in the Bible. The Bible talks about prayer and fasting being private things. Not saying the others can’t know about it, but it should be for you and God, not for the entire world to know.
So what about self-love? You want to spend some time doing something for yourself? Great, but don’t announce it to the whole world. When you announce things, it shows who you are truly doing it for. It gets corrupted by the outside world. You can treat yourself, but if you spend $1,000 on a new bag, without lights on at home, something is off. Practice self-care and love but self-care is for you, not everyone else.
Humble (not proud): modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance.
Are you too proud? Are you humble? Your love of self does not override the importance of someone else’s love of self. This does not mean that you regard someone else’s love or desires higher than your own, but more so that you cannot tell someone to ignore their wellbeing for yours and vice versa. Meaning, I cannot tell Jane to cancel her planned vacation day so she can do something for me.
Polite (not rude): showing good manners towards others in behaviors, speech, etc; being courteous, civil, and gracious.
Are you rude to yourself? My favorite part of thinking about being polite or “not rude” when loving myself is being gracious. Being thankful for what and who you are for existing. You are worthy of a sense of gratitude to yourself. Be thankful for all of the things you have overcome and the person you are. Speak positively about yourself, treat yourself like you love yourself. Don’t be negative and nasty with yourself.
Benevolent (not self-seeking): characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings.
Are you self-seeking? Are you selfish? Do you only care about yourself? The important word is only. It is perfectly fine to take care of yourself and to spend time embracing yourself. However, the moment you completely ignore the welfare of other people entirely, love has become dangerous and toxic.
Calm (not easily angered): freedom from agitation, excitement, or passion; tranquillity; serenity
Are you easily angered by yourself? How hard do you take things out on yourself? Are you quick to lose your temper and explore? Calmness is important because when things don’t go as planned, and we act too quickly, we typically get ourselves into a lot of trouble. All of a sudden you are acting on impulses instead of solving problems at the root or at least getting a logical grasp on life.
Forgive (no account of wrongs): to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
This is probably the most important characteristic of love. FORGIVENESS!! FORGIVE YOURSELF!! PLEASE!!! DON’T HOLD ON TO OLD MISTAKES OR PROBLEMS!!! FORGIVE!!! FORGIVEEEEEEEE!!!! *caps lock off* Whew…I’ve been there. I’ve beaten myself up. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve lost opportunities and people that I “shouldn’t have”. I’ve let people into my life, that “I should’ve known better than to trust”. I’ve acted too eager, heartbroken, trusting, cautious, absentminded, petty, aggressive, prideful, and so many more. That’s life. Things happen. We make mistakes. We all have. It’s up to us to let go of the past and just be present.
What do you think of when you think of self-love? What does it mean to you?
Turn Your Brightness Up!!