Love. What a powerful word.
It is a subject which emerges in all that we do, hear and say. From songs, to plays, to architecture, this phenomena has touched humanity, so much so that a life without love is instantly perceived as hellish and dull.
During this time of year, the word love is frequently used. Manifestations of love and charity are encouraged through different media and events. Basically one can easily say that Christmas has become or is in the process to be a celebration of love, and that is how it should be. The birth of Christ is the culmination of what a celebration of love should be. Love itself became flesh and dwelt among us and through his example made us capable of truly giving and receiving love as he does.
Yet, in this atmosphere of giving unto others, one need not forget the importance of the ability to receive love. One can receive hundred of gifts and be in thousands of relationships, yet if he’s not capable of receiving and acknowledging that love, it is as if he has nothing. Both the giving and receiving ends of love need to be enriched by the art of self-love. Self-love is necessary.
Jesus himself in Mark’s gospel says that one should love one’s neigbour as himself, and that is a big challenge, for history assures us that loving ourselves can be much more difficult than loving others. Everyday of our lives is a constant struggle with our own flaws, needs and weaknesses. There’s a need in us to be more than we are and that self-doubt in us crashes our ability to recognize our worth and makes us incapable of improving on what we already are.
Self-love was described as narcissistic and evil by many, yet it shouldn’t be seen in this way, for loving one’s self is a way out of selfishness. How can I ever accept another human being’s flaws and weaknesses before I recognize mine and accept them as they are? Ed Sheeran, one of the most popular singers of this day and age, wraps this up perfectly (no pun intended) in his song ‘Save myself’, especially when ending it with a verse saying : ‘Before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself.’
Another important aspect of self-love is without a doubt the ability to receive and accept the love that is given unto us. One can be loved immensely and unconditionally, but by not acknowledging it, it is useless. We Christians tend to do this with the love given to us by God. It is indescribably hard to fathom a higher being, who doesn’t need to love us yet he loves us in such a way that can’t even be described in human terms. He loves us as we are, unconditionally, yet here again, self-love is vital, for as Stephen Chobsky puts it in his novel The perks of being a wallflower: ‘We accept the love, we think we deserve.’ And if we don’t love ourselves by accepting all that we are, how can we ever think that we deserve to be loved?
We can give thousands of presents and donating a very huge sum to this fund-raisers yet if we do not instill a need to love ourselves, all that we do is useless. Love is that which defines us. We are relational beings, our energy and our lives are a product of relations and love. Thus Love is vital for our very own existence. Using Descartes’s famous philosophical preposition: ‘I think, therefore I am,’ one should also strongly assert and never forget that I need to love and to feel loved, therefore I am. It is in this embracement of all that makes us who we are and strive to be, that we are capable to love, be loved and feel loved.