**This post was originally published 10/3/2017
Do you love yourself unconditionally? How about respect? Do you have self-respect and self-love? Better yet, DO YOU EVEN LIKE YOURSELF?
Sadly many of us don’t like ourselves. The lack of self-love is the root of many problems in today’s society. We don’t see ourselves as worthy and are often full of self-criticism and even self-hatred. We lack proper self-care, we put others needs before our own, and we often find ourselves last on our “To-Do” list. One of the reasons we struggle with self-love is simply the that we do things backwards. We want to find love in others and find success in things around us when we don’t even know how to love ourselves.
How can we be happy with outside things when we aren’t happy with our inner being? It’s impossible. So while we look for love and satisfaction in all the wrong places, we find ourselves full of complaints. We complain about everything– our spouses, significant others, family, kids, jobs, friends, etc. Whatever the situation, we find a way to complain. We become so focused on the love we feel we should get from others and long for their attention from others that we operate in a spirit of unworthiness.
When in reality, we long for love and seek attention because we haven’t figured out who we are or whose we are. We don’t know how nor do we even try to love ourselves yet we expect everything in our life to flow smoothly. We expect to live a life full of overflowing love and passion yet we are empty on the inside.
It’s in the Book
The book of Mark, Chapter 12, Jesus is questioned as to which of the commandments is the greatest. In verse 29-31 we see the following, “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” There is no commandment greater than loving God. The second greatest commandment is loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. The important part of that scripture is “as yourself”. In other words in order to love your neighbor, you have to first love yourself. We cannot fill someone else’s tank when our own is on E.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF
Many of us focus on loving our neighbors but we disregard the part about loving self. The second greatest commandment calls for us to love ourselves FIRST then we can love others. Many people miss that! We run from person to person, friendship to friendship, relationship to relationship, seeking love. Often, we are left unhappy, unsatisfied, and alone. We end up back at square one and the pattern repeats itself. There is a simple lesson in all of this. Simply put: “YOU CANNOT GIVE WHAT YOU DON’T FIRST HAVE”
Imagine trying to drive your car but you have no gas. You won’t get far at all. Imagine someone coming to you asking you to borrow $10,000. You look at your bank account and see you have nowhere near that amount of money in the bank to lend to someone. It’s impossible for you to loan someone $10,000 because you don’t have it. The same goes with love. If you don’t have love on the inside, you can’t give it to the outside. That means your spouse, significant other, children, family, friends, etc. – you cannot effectively love anyone until you first love yourself.
AND GUESS WHAT?
IT IS OK TO LOVE YOURSELF. I repeat, “IT IS OK TO LOVE YOURSELF”
If you don’t learn to love yourself, you will have a hard time finding joy and peace in life. Something will always feel like it is missing. You will always search, long for and want more. You will live an unsatisfied life and wonder what happened.
Love yourself through your own eyes. You have to look in the mirror and get real with yourself. It is easy to become preoccupied with what others are doing and saying. But this can cause you to attempt to mirror their actions or behaviors in your own life. You may try to look like they look and do as they do. BUT all you are doing is setting yourself up for failure. You cannot live someone else’s life no matter how hard you try.
When you look in a mirror what do you see? Do you see your mom, sister, friend, co-worker, etc.? No. The only person in that mirror is YOU and those eyes looking back are yours. When you look in that mirror, see yourself as GOD sees you. You are His precious child, His creation, His masterpiece, unique, beautiful, talented, and loved. That is all that matters.
These past few years I have been on a self-love journey. But this journey has not just been about self-love. This has been a total self-care journey. For too long, I defined myself by the roles that I have. Wife, mom, friend, worker, this title, that title, this achievement, this accomplishment. I lived by my roles and what I could be to everyone often neglecting myself. I reached a point of complete burnout and looked around wondering what happened in my life. Through conversation and prayer with GOD, I realized I had been neglecting myself for so long. I had to discover all over again, who I am, what I like, and what do I want out of life. The process was far from easy, but it was worth it. I reclaimed my power, and realized I can still be a wife, mom, etc. but I have to be LaWann FIRST!
A typical hang up for many women (myself included) is the fear of being as selfish, self-centered, etc., but honey it is okay to be a little selfish at times. You can’t give, give, and give some more without taking a moment to reboot and refill. And quite honestly self-care is not selfish… it’s smart.
Self-care is necessary. Self-care is a choice to take the time to care for ourselves just as great as we care for others. It is taking the necessary steps to ensure our own mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. As natural caregivers, we give of ourselves until we are depleted and left with nothing. BUT ask yourself this, “If I deplete myself then what do I really have to offer to myself and others?”
Remember “You can’t give what you don’t first have”
Thank you for taking the time to connect with MOcha Masterpiece. I am excited to have you on this journey. Check out my next blog post, where I will give you tell you “How to Love Yourself Even When It’s Hard”
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Until Next Time,