Your Choices Speaks Volumes
Warning: This post is vulnerable and may cause some to feel uncomfortable. You have been warned.
I have been focused on healing and self-love for quite some time as a blogger and as a person. Now, this post isn't about me ending the journey. I believe, scratch that, I know that without a doubt the only way that I can be who God has destined for me to become is by exposing myself through honesty, vulnerability, transparency, and love. These are the elements of self-love. These are the traits I continue to seek.
What most of you don't know is that in my spare time, I don't merely read Scripture, but I allow God to help me seek men and women who have been on this journey and soak in their wisdom. Whether it's going to speaking events, grabbing some tea (your girl is not about that coffee life anymore), or watching videos from influential leaders, I'm always down for learning and growing. Remember how I recently wrote a piece titled: Do You Love Yourself? When I wrote this, I initially knew that it wasn't going to be the last time I touched on the topic of inner love. Since then, I've been wrestling with how I'd like to continue. It wasn't until today (when I saw the video above) that I finally felt comfortable enough to keep sharing with you all.
Previously, I stated that the question of "do you love yourself" is one that we (collectively as people) struggle with. There are different ways that we answer this question, but ultimately, to love ourselves, we must face ourselves and embrace every crack and corner, which makes us who we are. Staying on that note, I wanted to ask, so why are you making decisions that say otherwise?
Remember when I said that this post would make some feel uncomfortable? Well, here we go.
Some of us are quick to say that we love ourselves, but the choices we make seem to contradict that statement. How? When we make decisions to keep people in our lives who aren't a part of our alignment or people who distract us from who God has destined for us to become. (You know the truth behind who those people are in your life more than anyone.) When we settle for anything that we know will cause less growth than if we were simply with Christ, we're not loving ourselves!
I know, I'm harsh, and frankly, I don't care because this is the language, and the same questions I asked myself. I asked myself this question on December 1st, 2018, and I continue to ask myself, "by sticking with this person or staying at this place, am I loving myself?" If I don't feel the Holy Spirit saying yes to me, I bounce! Simple but can be difficult when you're attached to what isn't in your alignment.
The video above by Tracey Casey-Arnold is beautiful! Girlfriend makes some dope points here (y' all know my English is thrown out of the window when I get excited)!
Tracey explains that there is absolutely no way we can be happy in any relationship if we don't choose ourselves first. Whoa! This seems to contradict what we've been taught in our faith. Traditionally, as believers, we've been taught that we must think less of ourselves and raise others up. I'm living proof that this mentality kills.
Seeing less of yourself so that you can put others before you will destroy you. I did this in the past when it came to my family, my friendships, and my relationships. I always put everyone before me. Y'all, I valued a guy more than myself so much that I not only distanced myself from my family and closest friends for his self-assurance, but I also allowed myself to fall into the deepest and darkest depression I had ever faced. That results from when you think less of yourself and more of everyone else. And I'm here to tell you, that is not loving yourself. That is not choosing yourself. That mentality is not loving who God is madly in love with, you.
No relationship (family, friends, and significant others) should at any point cause you to feel that you are going to have to bring yourself down, so someone else can shine. If God never did that with you, why would you consider that as love? God's love for us was nothing like this. This isn't loving. This isn't a healthy relationship of any kind.
See, Scripture and many leaders of inner peace emphasize the importance of allowing yourself to meet and love who you so that by doing so you can create an environment for others to be themselves and enjoy themselves. If loving yourself by setting boundaries, demanding respect, equality, and being your authentic self is a threat to your relationship with anyone, then that relationship must end. Let me help you with the break up: it’s you and it’s me so we can’t be.
You show that you love yourself by the people and the relationships you keep in your life. Tracey touches on topics such as cheating and lying. Now as people, we are all sinners and have lied at some point but just as it's impossible to lie to God seeing that he sees all so should it be when we are in unions with others we treasure.
Love doesn't give room for fabrication, manipulation, lies, or anything that isn't in the character of God. Love gives room to transparency, which in turn becomes vulnerability, and there is the connection that transcends life. See, to love ourselves means we are making the best decisions for ourselves based on what we know to be accurate within our relationship with our Creator. To love ourselves is to choose ourselves because choosing ourselves means we want to be in alignment with Christ who loves each person and this will ultimately cause us to love who we are and the core of everyone else.
We cannot be in a healthy relationship with anyone if we're not in a healthy relationship with ourselves first. We cannot give love if we don't first give it to ourselves. We cannot accept love if we first do not accept the love that God has for us. We cannot be who we're meant to be if we do not allow ourselves to meet ourselves. You and I cannot say we love ourselves if we don't know ourselves (which takes time, patience, compassion, and honesty).
Love for others begins when we love ourselves first. Respect for others starts when we respect ourselves. Compassion exists when we learn to give it to ourselves firstmost.
Think of it as when a mother has a newborn baby. With babies, when it comes time for feeding, the mother creates a formula (or if you're like my mom, you were strictly on breastfeeding). When you pour the milk into the bottle, you feel the outer part of bottle to make sure that it's not too cold and not too hot. The baby's food has to be just right. My mother taught me that the best way to know if the food is ready for the child is not by feeling the outside of the bottle but by squeezing out some of the milk onto the outer part of your hand, your fist. You then sense the substance and the temperature of the food that you're about to give to the baby. This is how love works.
Similar to the baby and the milk, you must first feel and know the gift of love before you give it to anyone else.
God said, love your neighbor as yourself. Not love your neighbor so you can learn to love yourself. Or love your neighbor before you love yourself. Nah bruh! Loving you is the beginning of the love story you will share with the most important people in your life. It begins with loving yourself and making the decisions that are aligned with who God is unconditionally in love with, you!
Do you love yourself? Are the relationships in your life validation of that love? Are your choices stating you value yourself? (If you're even slightly unsure, then that's a no.)
Until next time...