I have been thinking and reading a lot about love. Love is magical! A phenomenon, really. It is consuming, captivating, and can be fulfilling. It makes us act and do things we wouldn't normally do.
Here's an example of this; indulge me for a moment, I want you to imagine or think of a person that you hold in high regard or really admire.Imagine the person you love so much, that person that makes you go crazy when you’re in their presence. Now, imagine you’ve received an email/text that you have been entrusted to look after that person/people for a week, or even a day. This means you’re going to be in their presence 24/7 and will assist them with whatever they need. How would you feel? How would you show up for them every day? What would you wear? What language would you use around them and how would you speak to them? Most importantly, how would you treat them?
I love Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, and Sandra Bullock, for their craft because they are powerful women in the media and business space -amongst other powerful men and women of cause. I know for a fact that if ever given an opportunity to assist them in any way, I would be honored to serve them with a spirit of excellence! I would serve them well, because I hold them in high regard.
Nonetheless, in reality, there is a valuable person whom God has entrusted YOU with. That person is YOU. Maybe this is just me, but when I imagined being entrusted with someone I love and admire, I imagined the treatment towards them to be different from how I treat myself every day. The language I would use while talking to them is also different from how I talk to myself every day. This had me thinking, how come I don’t have as much high regard for myself? I am a child of God! We can hide behind false humility all we want, but the truth is we don’t love ourselves well.
Over the years, there has been huge societal improvements and growth in the self-love/care movement, especially with the massive rise of self empowerment. However, all of this is good in theory and on social media, but living it out is a bit harder. The issues of self hatred, shame, and guilt are very deep and in most cases have different layers. Due to the many layers, it can take more time to heal, which is why we have to consciously choose to . This journey requires us to love ourselves, inwardly, every day. It is more than face masks on Sunday's and getting a massage periodically. Now, these activities are relaxing and great, but learning to love ourselves and others well is a process that can only be done with the help of Jesus.
Wisdom says I have to go back to the one who loved me first, the one who created me, God, and ask for help. Truth is, I don’t know how to love myself well because love is not my overall life experience. However, because God is love, if I seek Him above all, then I will be filled with so much of Him that all I will know and understand will be love. Through my journey of learning how to take good care of the person I have been entrusted with on this side of heaven, I have learned that there are levels to self love. We never fully arrive, but we can strive to improve day by day.
Thus, I have decided to treat myself like someone of high regard, which God has entrusted me with. In order to do this effectively, I have started to intentionally talk to myself differently, and do small acts of love for myself, on a daily basis. I tell myself I am proud, when I do something well or accomplish a project. I have started to do things for myself with excellence, such as using the dinnerware that is reserved for special occasions or very special people, or making sure that the food I prepare is presentable. I choose to make myself a good cup of coffee every morning, to start the day and will regularly do small acts of kindness towards myself. I have also started apologizing to myself more, which has made a world of difference. This has also made it easier for me to forgive others and extend grace. It has made me more understanding, somehow.
This may sound crazy, but when I bump into something or hurt myself, physically, I massage the affected area and say out loud, “sorry Zintle.” This act of self-love is soothing and healing. No wonder kids stop crying no matter how hurt they are when we do this to them, to make them feel comforted and loved. Try it, it works! I am going to start doing the same thing when I am hurt emotionally, too.
I have decided I am going to take good care of ME, consistently, from now on. I am going to do that by staying constantly close to God, who is love in its completeness. I can only love myself well, through Christ's love, the one who considered me to be worth dying for. Only then can I love myself well, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can practice daily acts of love towards self. As this love overflows, it will bless all those that encounter me because love will be abundant and my cup overflowing. Then, I will be able to love others without expectation, just as Christ loves them, because love would be all I have to give.
As I continue on this journey of learning to love better everyday, I will continue reading more on the subject and practicing love. It is important to note that love requires effort and it comes with responsibility.
My prayer is that as you start your own journey back to love (God), that you always remember that you are above and NOT beneath, the head and NOT the tail, and that YOU my dear friend are a child of a KING. You are worth dying for! May you always remember that you are ENOUGH.
May this “love” month bring you experiences that are filled with every form of beautiful love. May you encounter love wherever you go because you are loveable!