Do You Love Yourself?
I got back from mass today and the gospel of today kept ringing in my head. It was culled from Luke 10 and the v 27 was the particular one that kept repeating itself in my head; "...love your neighbor as you love yourself.."
I wondered, why did Jesus add "..as you love yourself" rather than just answer the scholar who questioned him with only "Love your neighbour."? Two thoughts came to mind, but one of them stood out so strongly. One of the ideas in my mind was you have to love yourself first, so that you can even know how to love your neighbour. And the second was that you have to love your neighbour the way you love yourself (this is assuming you love yourself o).
The second idea was dependent on the first because you cannot love others "the way you love yourself" if the way you love yourself does not even exist in the first place, so I will focus on the first idea here which is that you have to love yourself first.
What does this even mean? What does it mean to love ourselves? Just a quick search on Google on "what is love?" yielded 2 quick answers: an intense feeling of deep affection and a great interest or pleasure in something. Based on the scripture love is defined this way in 1 Cor 13: 4-5: Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, love is not self-seeking or easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.
Now let's look at these answers well to even understand what it means to love ourselves. Based on the Google result, loving ourselves should mean that we feel deep affection for our own selves, that is we cherish ourselves, who we are, the way God made us, how we look, where we come from and lots more. And it also means that we should have great interest or pleasure in ourselves; which means that we should be excited about existence and the gift of life. We should be very excited about being alive and being born. We should take great interest in learning about ourselves and discovering a lot of hidden gifts and talents which we do not even know of. "Man Know thyself" comes to mind?
Those are my understanding from the Google definition.
Based on the scripture, it's quite similar to the meaning of the aforementioned. It means we should be patient with ourselves; which means we should not beat up ourselves over any little mistake. It means we should be kind to ourselves; you've been working a lot and your feel like you need some rest and just enjoy yourself with others? Be kind enough to yourself to relax, take the needed breaks and enjoy life.
It means we should not envy other people; which means that we should stop that joy stealing habit of comparing our lives with those of others. People that you do not know what they are going through in secret, you envy them. Love does not envy others. You know why? Because if you take great interest in your own self and begin uncovering all of the amazing things that you are, you will see there is nothing to envy in any other person or thing.
It is not self-seeking; means that if we love ourselves we must not look out only for our interests at all times. tI means loving yourself enough to know that sometimes, you need to sacrifice some things for the greater good. Let me break it down. If you are working a shift and 1 minute to the end of your shift, something happens at your workplace and everyone needs your help to save the situation. You know your shift is done and you just want to go home and relax, being not self-seeking means joining your team and saving the day, possibly preventing a potential accident. If you were self seeking, you will not be bothered.. you will go home and rest after all, your time to go has reached and it's none of your biz whatever happens.
When you think about it well, being not self-seeking as described helps you in the long run even though it would look like you should not be putting others first. But what happens is that those people come to respect and hold you to high esteem and will always strive to support you should you need help as well someday. It also strengthens your relationship with others. So if you love yourself, you will not always be putting your wants first. That's what self-seeking means.
It means not easily angered. If you love yourself you will not be easily angered by what happens to you, what people say or what they think about you. Most people in the world today are sad and depressed because of what people have said or what they feel others think of them. Don't put yourself in that shoe. Loving yourself is knowing your worth and blocking off any other nonsense that anyone wants to say or think to bring your high spirits down.
And finally according to scripture, it means keeping no record of wrongs of yourself. Please take note in all of these definitions, I am relating it to oneself. How often do you beat yourself up over the mistakes of your past or what someone did to you in the past? How often do you keep on remembering and playing back in your head areas of your past that you do not like? If you are dwelling so much on the past, you do not love yourself. Snap out of it and focus on who you want to be and be the full expression of what God wants you to do.
It's a lot on loving yourself isn't it? Read it again if you have the time and think about it. We must form a habit of loving ourselves this way in all aspects. Only when we get used to this can we love other people effortlessly.
You see the reason most people only love people that love them back is because most people do not really love themselves properly. They always expect love back anytime they manage to force themselves to love others. But they do not understand that that's not love because genuine love arises when you have loved yourself well enough for that love to extend to others.
If you are able to thoroughly love yourself in all the ways as described, you will just find it so easy to love other people because you are consumed by this love. You will not even be bothered about the idea whether the person is loving you back or not. Those concerned about others loving them back have not yet experienced this genuine love. It begins with properly loving yourself first, then you begin to give it our freely, whether people give it back or not won't matter because it won't really change anything.
You get the point? I want to believe you do my friend. Until next time, love yourself thoroughly first and keep on winning!