By: Sister Eliada (Elizabeth Gomez)
The importance of self-love is often heard among millennials in social media. If not in quotes, they sometimes give advice on how to practice and live on prioritizing the love for oneself.
Maybe some of us have encountered these quotes…
“Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself,”
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do,”
“Be proud of who you are, and not ashamed of how someone else sees you.”
“Be yourself. An original is so much better than a copy,”
“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”
These are the quotes that I often encounter in social media posts, captions, and advocacies. It is undeniable that as a human being, looking at these affirmations brings us confidence and hope whenever we feel less of ourselves.
Most of the time, as we perceive these affirmations, we thought of ways how to disengage ourselves to things that we deemed burdened us or took too much of our time and attention. We tend to focus more on our own well-being; oftentimes it is through pampering ourselves brought about by long overdue stress, indulging on things that we thought we have deprived ourselves of, spending time alone to meditate and bond to the person who is always with us.
While some people’s perception of loving oneself is to let go of whatever negativity that consumed them, which sometimes lead to moving to another place, breaking off a particular habit, and sometimes cutting ties with people they see as no longer worthy to surround themselves with.
I am not going to spare myself on this topic. At times, I notice myself reading articles and even Bible verses that stress out self-love. These times occur when I feel down, depressed, and unimportant. I come to seek empowering words to uplift my spirit. I am glad that despite negative connotations attached to this generation, recognizing the value of self-love to a person is something that should consider a breakthrough.
It is undeniable that many people survived today’s challenging life through practicing self-love, especially the ones who recognize their value in the eyes of God and believe that any tribulations they may face, they can survive not because it is miraculously given to them by the Supreme Being but by having the faith that all problems have solutions.
Though good intentions sometimes are used for negative interests, especially since the term self-love is becoming a trend (multinational companies and businesses take advantage of it to generate profit), it is not a bad idea. It actually promotes visibility for the idea but somehow I think it has campaigned shallowly.
There is nothing wrong with putting yourself as a priority. It is actually our obligation to ourselves and to our happiness. Even choosing our circle of people is our own right. I think, more than recognizing these ideas is to hone our core self, that whatever we face in this lifetime we can always bounce back in life; be of sound mind and believe that we have enough self-love to conquer every situation.
According to an article written by Tania Kotsos about self-love, “To love yourself is not just a self-esteem boosting piece of advice. It is the prerequisite to truly loving others.” The Golden Rule tells us to “love your neighbour as you love yourself”.
God commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Building walls to protect us from the things that we perceive as disastrous to our happiness is sometimes necessary. However, opening our heart, making it strong, as it desires to become of service to others, especially those who are hardest to love, is the best definition of what self-love truly is.
As a part of this generation, I know feeling bad about ourselves is something we hardly entertain. Yet it is something that is always felt due to our hectic schedules, society’s pressure, and even our responsibilities fueling us to keep on going and fighting through life.
Looking at our current situation, the effects of the pandemic is visible and felt in various aspects of our lives. Most people are anxious about security–securing themselves from the disease–and their needs to get by in life. All this is to guarantee their place in this world.
Other people are protesting for the rights and justice of a specific race, as they have been degraded for so long. Others were threatened to silence by limiting their freedom of speech. Some, unfortunately, especially women and children, are being held captive, harassed and sexually violated. There are still many things grossly happening in our world now. I have barely scratched the surface with what I have mentioned.
The increasing chaos we experience in the world made us believers think that the second coming is near. What do we ask ourselves, knowing we are aware of this belief?
As I browse social media, I encountered a specific verse. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” I know that in our sermons, the Lord expects us to look and treat our brethren and other people as ourselves.
I began to think of people treating self-love in selfless ways. I remembered so many people. These people did not dwell much on self-interest, but rather, they go out and reach for the people in need. They speak for the people who do not have the same rights and privileges they have. They help and become sensitive to what others need. They speak only of the truth, especially if it benefits the greater good.
I realized self-love is looking after ourselves and seeing ourselves in other people. It is giving as opposed to acquiring. It is something we should practice for us to feel the love we deserve.
Do some of us notice that famous people like Princess Diana, Oprah Winfrey, and Angelina Jolie have become philanthropists at the latter part of their careers; it is because satisfaction and fulfillment in life is not seen by having it all but on the virtue of being able to share whatever we have to others who have less.
The future is unpredictable and every tomorrow seems a conundrum. We are in a very uncertain time of our lives. Now more than ever, let us all believe God wants us to cling always to each other. We can expect the help of others and be of service in return.
The time we are in is a test of showing self-love through picturing ourselves in the lives of others. It is a time to trust God even more. Whatever happens, whatever the world brings us, we are secured in His promise. This truth stands as long as we traverse this life loving and looking after one another.
I write this not to invalidate guides and tips we see across social media articles, books, and the like. Rather, it is to bring the term self-love to new heights. Loving yourself and realizing the power of self-love can bring tremendous fulfillment–not just in this life but in our spiritual lives, as well.