First, Love Yourself
First, Love yourself. To love yourself isn’t the usual ‘put yourself first or set some high-sounding boundaries.’ No, I believe it goes further to say that loving yourself is a clear understanding of who you are, what makes you tick, and the barest minimum you’re unwilling to accept for anybody.
I’ll take you down a little path of memory lane where I honestly believed I had cracked the code to what it meant first to love yourself. You see, back then, I would sharply make excuses for people who didn’t show up for me or said something that hurt or even disregarded my emotions and how I wanted to be treated but these days, like my brother would say, ‘you smell the nonsense from a mile away.’ You already know you’re not turning in that direction.
I think the question I asked myself was – if I don’t know what love feels like to myself, how can I genuinely tell when I’m receiving it? How can you not know how to love yourself and expect that another human being would do so for you perfectly? In reality, you cannot give what you don’t have, so what makes us think this age-long fact isn’t applicable everywhere?
Life can be tricky on its own, but in these times we’re in, people would pull however hard if you don’t resist. It’s like a rubber band they intend to let go of at some point when they choose, and guess what – it hurts when it snaps back at you. The good book added that it is a command ‘to love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Notice how it never said more than you did for yourself because, more than anything else, God must want balance in our lives.
I firmly believe that when you’ve grown a healthy dose of love for yourself, your peace and happiness become more important than your desire for things that don’t benefit you. If you value your time and tranquility, why would you let another person waste your time and cause unrest? Why would you let another person drag you to the heat without objecting if you wouldn’t put your fingers in a fire with your eyes open?
To love yourself is to care for yourself so profoundly, starting from the body you would have until you die. So then, why would you let someone undeserving or unworthy by the standards of how they have treated you come too close to leaving a scar? Why would you choose pain from another person instead of the continual joy and happiness you strive for yourself?
I once asked a friend going through some difficult times if the decision she was hesitant to make was worth her lack of peace and joy. Get this; whatever doesn’t give you peace doesn’t serve you, and if you love yourself deeply, then there’s no way you can cohabit with another person’s lack of honor for you.
I know right now, there’s a pandemic of Narcissists and people who have dissociative behaviors and all the others on the negative spectrum of character, so this piece is in no way promoting some selfish cult about self-love to the detriment of well-meaning people in our lives, especially on cases where we might be the ones at fault.
The bottom line is to treat yourself how you want others to treat you. Care for yourself how you’d like others to do the same, and love yourself the way you’d like to get it back in return.
I pray that people with good intentions cross paths with only those with better intentions.
First, Love yourself.