If you turn to any self-help book, podcast, Youtube video, or any church sermon regarding the topic of "love" and "relationships", you will most likely hear the phrase "self love". If you don't hear this phrase from those who speak on the topic of love and relationships, I would be weary to suggest if that source were of any quality.
But nonetheless, let's dive into this pressing question: What the heck is "self love"?
After months of being "alone" and really seeking for the right definition of what self love is, here is how I define "self love":
Accepting who you were created to be, while simultaneously not allowing any one thing, or person(s) to disturb your peace.
Note how no where in my definition I state that this means being 100% alone. Society has painted this picture of self love as complete solitude for extended periods of time, to the point where it can become unhealthy and have negative affects.
However, frequently "self love" has been used interchangeably with "dating yourself". When I hear someone tell another person, who might be going through a rough patch in their current relationship, to "date themselves", I cringe.
Because that is not how, or even why, the human race was created!
Humans were created to be together. To socialize. To be within communities that allow for self exploration and spiritual growth. Humans were not meant to be in solitude, and certainly not to date ourselves. If you are spiritual, as I am, in the first book of the Bible (Genesis 2: 4-25) God created Eve specifically for Adam because even our great Creator knew it was not a good thing for humans to be alone.
You now might be wondering the how to self-love. What does it look like? What does it sound like?
Here is an example that I have personally lived that single handily made me get that Ah ha! moment as to what self-love was.....
In a perfect world, every relationship we gather throughout life (family, friends, coworkers, romantically, etc.) would be a walk in the park. You never argue. You never have bad times. You are never disappointed. However, anyone who has breath in their lungs knows this to not be the case all the time, if ever. Disappointments will happen. Betrayal will happen.
But the beauty of it all is this: there is so much learned when our expectations are not met.
The holidays are a time where there is so much joy and love in the air. Families gather, kitchens are filled with mouth watering aromas, and all is well just because you have everyone you love, your blood, all in the same room.
However, this was not the case for me roughly 2 years ago......
Right after Christmas day, my current boyfriend at the time, got publicly caught cheating. Let's just say "stuff" hit the fan. His dirt was blasted all over Facebook, then onto Instagram. I was minding my own business at work, as this was all transpiring in the morning. Around lunch time, a family member text me, that I have not heard from in over 2 years I might add, sends me a screen shot of the post that started it all, and put a cold sentence right under that read, "Thought you should know". I knew this message was not coming from a loving place from this person. However, I decided to take the high road and simply say "Thank you for letting me know".
To make a long story short, I was able to figure out how this matter got out of hand so quickly, to the point where my father got involved. My own blood went behind my back, went to the other woman, chalked up conversation with her, asked for pictures and proof of the cheating, and took this news to my mother and father. All the while, no one ever ask me, their blood, if I were ok.
I was hurt beyond belief to realize the intentions of the ones I thought had my back. My phone was quickly flooded with texts from the culprits, telling me how dumb I was and pretty much degrading me down to dirt. My own family was taking the side of the other woman! I thought to myself, "Have I ever been a bad person to these people?" I really had to check myself to see why would these people, who are blood, accuse me of the being the issue.
To say I felt hurt would be insufficient. I felt betrayed, abandoned, confused, angry, all at once. The holiday spirit was sucked out of the air so quick, I forgot New Years was around the corner. I didn't my house for 3 days. I felt like everyone hated me, or knew what happened and I would be the laughing stalk of the city.
Once I got the courage get out of the house and go on with my life as if nothing happened, in those 3 days of solitude I learned such a valuable lesson that I did not realize until now: protecting your peace is self-love.
I allowed the chaos of others to get to me so badly that it made me run away from everyone, even myself. My peace was shaken. From that day forward I made a vow to myself that I will not allow others, even blood, to get me out of my character, or better yet, disturb my peace.
I sharing this story to remind anyone who reads this that no matter how crazy life can get, how many times people speak badly of you even if they are family, no matter what society says you should look like, how you should be living at a certain age, etc., never allow any of that noise to disturb your peace. Love yourself more by saying no, by walking away, by standing up for yourself. I did this, and continually do this everyday since then. I won't say its easy at first, but I will promise you that it is worth it.
As my definition states:
Accept who you were created to be, while simultaneously not allowing any one thing, or person(s) to disturb your peace.