What to you is the perfect love? Is it when there is mutual respect between partners? Or is it when a person perceives himself as enough because he sees and embraces his worth regardless if someone provides them validation or not?
Quite frankly, everything above can be considered perfect love.
God gives his people unconditional love, as evident in his ultimate sacrifice. And for this love to become perfect, these people should be able to reflect it back to him. But the question is, how? According to the bible, giving love and being kind to everyone else and oneself is paramount to their faith in God. Hence, if there is anything one can do to give back the love that He gave, it’s sharing love with the world. But before one can do so to those around him, it’s essential that he gives it to himself first.
In Veronica Lisare’s memoir entitled The Other Side of Fear: My Journey into Perfect Love, she testifies that other than the determination to move through life’s challenges and asking God for guidance, one needs to embrace themselves first. In doing so, they can discover the other side of fear, which will lead them to live life to its fullest. Her book is a testament to how significant it is for people to accept and appreciate themselves before anything else.
What is self-love?
Self-love is supporting oneself through physical, mental, and psychological struggles and growth, resulting in appreciation of oneself and knowing one’s value. Self-love means putting happiness and well-being over anything else and is achieved by not sacrificing one’s well-being. How individuals practice self-love differs from person to person, depending on what they identify as their priority in their lives. This can mean talking about oneself with love, knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses without disdain, and identifying one’s well-being and emotions as valid.
In a world where everything can be accessed and explored on the internet, society seems to be cultivating a culture that nurtures comparisons and resentment. People have grown interested in comparing themselves, from their physical attributes to their lifestyles, with others. This behavior feeds into the concept that’s precisely the opposite of self-love – loath and envy.
In this generation, people need to brush up on their habits and behavior and find out if they are empowering themselves through self-love.
Think of it as an ever-changing practice
Self-love isn’t a race between people. Again with comparison – some might observe how others have already found contentment in their lives and might feel pressured to find theirs. This doesn’t only put pressure on oneself but also feels the negativity in one’s life. No one thing defines what self-love is for individuals. And there isn’t a solid practice for it, as well. It can be ever-changing, depending on what one needs the most in life.
It can also be observed under a trial and error process as a practice. There needs to be a continuous and proactive search for what makes one genuinely contented in life.
Perfection isn’t a prerequisite to self-love
One doesn’t need to be perfect to love oneself. They would need to acknowledge and accept their flaws, as well. However, this is understandably easier said than done. After all, humans seek perfection. One of the first things to do to realize how perfection isn’t necessary is to observe one’s surroundings. Notice how people still have groups that accept them as they are, whether it be their families or friends. This should prove that as long as they have something to provide and are generally good human beings, people will be accepted and appreciated.
Challenge your mental narrative
“You are your greatest enemy” proves to be correct. People tend to ruminate and self-blame. This can be a learned mechanism from early childhood when toddlers are conditioned to take responsibility for their actions. Changing it can be challenging – perhaps even impossible without hard work. But, as with everything else, change can’t be achieved without putting in the effort.
One way to change this narrative and avoid self-blame is by sticking to facts. When people experience trouble or things going awry, they need to stop the itch to direct the blame to themselves immediately. Instead, they need to look back and observe if it was their fault or if things went downhill because of external reasons. Self-love isn’t about blaming. It is accepting that things can go wrong, and it’s not always an individual’s fault.