For a long time I chose to practice the act of self-love. After a while, I began to realise that the grounds on which my love relied on where not enough for the woman I wanted to become and am becoming. I then decided to break the whole concept down instead of just doing without any real establishment of how and why. I must acknowledge the women and men who practice self-love. We are all different and it is important to find what is right for you and to run with it. Those who do, have served as a great example through breaking the social norms established by a number of institutions over several years, and serve as an amazing example to those who don’t, and to those who are yet to radically love who they are. I applaud you.
I began with Love. The descriptions of love were useful in guiding me on ways to practice what it means. Though I was searching for a definition, I needed to know what it meant for me to practice it in its fullness. In exploring Love through discussions with a number of people, and reading, there were several things I learnt, and was reminded of. I remember reading Paulo Coelho’s The Witch of Portobello, where he wrote “Love simply is”. This resonated with me so well because I didn’t want to confine something through establishing a fixed and restricted space for it. In practicing this self-love, I made affirmations often, I felt beautiful, but there were voids I couldn’t quite get my head around.
In my early stages of redirecting a life to Christ, I began to explore Jesus’s life and it was where I found many of the answers I’d been searching for. I saw a tangible example of love through action in him. A personification of love and it was in the bible where love was defined.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
If God is Love, what is it that God does to lead as an example of what it means to practise Love? There are ample examples which can be identified in the bible. In regards to self-love my experiences tell me that one simply cannot love in a profound way if one does not know what it means to love who they are first. Put simply, self-love is loving yourself despite all of the factors that will distract you not to. If God is love, then surely to Love myself is to see myself through the eyes of the Lord. If I am made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), there is no reason to question the beauty carved by the hands of someone who made me in his image. Now I look at my reflection and I feel complete, even with the imperfections. The epitome of God’s commitment to us regardless of falling short of doing good, we are loved and forgiven. What I love the most about this definition is that it will never change, it is fixed forever. Each day I am attentive to the attributes of love, so I too can embody them, in order to love myself and to love those around me.