Self-love before In-love
Part 1 of 5
The Lord appeared to us in the past saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”Jeremiah 31:3
We live in a culture that constantly glorifies the idea of being in love. From our favorite tear-jerking Nicholas Sparks’ novels to whole baby-making albums; the concept that we are incomplete until we’ve found our other “half” is constantly engraved into our minds.
In certain cultures, if you’re a female not dreaming of a wedding or procreating or a man striving to leave a legacy, something is off. The idea that life isn’t as satisfying until we have someone to share it with echoes in the back of our minds.
With this constant reminder, at times it can become easier to love the idea of being in love rather than actually love another. We can even find ourselves stepping into relationships before we’ve truly created a healthy relationship with ourselves.
To me, there are two major crisis that can occur when we step into love before cultivating self-love; the first is that of value and the second is that of identity.
Today I want to begin with the crisis of value by sharing the raw reality of my experience as I fell into love before truly understanding what self-love meant and entailed.
I, at one very prideful point in my life, believed I had it all figured out. I thought I had mastered the art of self-love because I knew when to take breaks and how to say no to a second plate of cake. In reality, there were too many areas of self-love that I had left undiscovered therefore leaving parts of me undiscovered and with no knowledge of value.
Naturally this made the process of falling in love easy, effortless and filled with an attachment to value. You see to me, having an intelligent, handsome, kind man approach me, pursue me and want to build a life with me meant there was value within me, enough value to invest in me, enough value to match the value I saw in him.
What I hadn’t accounted for was the idea that part of that “value” that I believed I held in his eyes was a potential (conditional, so to speak) value. Value based off of how fast I learned from my mistakes, how well I responded under pressure or pain, how loyal I remained when I felt betrayed.
As I fell short to such expectations so did my value in my eyes. What once was worth the fight and heartache no longer was and I couldn’t disagree. The less value I felt I had in his eyes the less value I saw in me (even though to him, my value remained)the less value I saw in me, the worse I was allowed to behave because after all – I had little to lose.
What did that look like for me? Poor thoughts, words and actions.
Had my value been found in Christ, unconditional from what I did but because of what He did for me; had I cultivated self-love and understood the value in my own accountability and growth- I would’ve understood that I in fact was not without value but rather priceless.
Listen, I know at times it’s easy to question our value. It’s easy to assume that our value is found in how much we make, how many college classes we’ve taken, how pleasing we are to our partners. Society constantly screams “net worth” as if they’ve got the true measurement and testament of value. I know it’s easy to let the world tell you that if you held more value you wouldn’t be single, divorced or with a significant other that could treat you better- it’s BS.
Your value is based solely on the One Who created you. Your value is based off of who He says you are (someone valuable enough to leave a thrown in heaven and become a man over). Master your self-love. Love yourself enough to not accept less than the best starting with you. Call out to your best version. You are worth more than your biggest mistake and darkest choice. Be kind to yourself.