On Self Love and Loving

Have you ever fell in love with someone, and at the moment they fell in love with you everything changed? The person was perfect, the ideal “one” you sought your whole life, but as soon as they started caring about you, your mind just changed. Why? How does that happen? Scarlet Parke, on Don’t Tell Me, makes a valid point that might start clearing things up a little bit. She sings, “maybe we are running from ourselves, chasing something else when all we need is who we are.” One might love another not because they are free to do so, but because they are running from themselves. How so?

A flawed, imperfect, empty, boring guy finds the most awesome, perfect, fulfilling, and energetic girl he has ever met! Yes, they are complete opposites! He, to be honest, is a very nice guy. Solid job, values family, loves kids, healthy guy, enjoy arts, and has a Bible-saturated mind. He, of course, does not realize that. He thinks he sucks. This guy, then, pursues the girl of his dreams. In doing so, he becomes a “better him,” pushing himself further and further for his damsel’s heart. Until one day, *trumpets sound*, she realizes he is, in fact, an awesome guy and starts showing him some love. What happens to our lovely friend now? He starts feeling disgusted and miserable. She is not all that perfect anymore. Why would she get involved with a man like him? “How could she? Her standards were so high, I guess I was wrong,” concludes our lonely friend. The opposites are so strong, at least in his mind, that he cannot conceive of such a perfect girl giving attention to a guy like him.

Self-Love and Being Loved

For a relationship to work, both will need a degree of love for self. If you don’t consider yourself worth of the next person, you will likely discredit them for liking someone like you. If one does not feel worthy of being loved, one will refuse every attempt one makes to love them. As The School of Life  teaches, “without love for self, the love of another person will always prove sickening and misguided.” Such an unconscious mental rebellion will destroy three in one: the person loved, the one loving, and the potential relationship. These kind of people are like those who get an A+ on a test they cheated, they don’t feel like they deserve it. These kind of people, I must add, normally enjoy falling in love with self-loving pricks who don’t give two baby back pork ribs about them.

Loving

Some people, on the other hand, had lever left their childhood behind. Normally, you learn about your self-worth in the early stages of life. Some folks, however, never move on. Meaning, they never go from being loved to love. They developed what I call the “love-me” disease. These people think of themselves as the next Pope or Jesus’ co-redeemer. They are so great, so fantastic, so awesome, that being loved is good to a degree, the impersonal degree. As soon as love gets close to them they act like porcupines repelling it. Why? Because they lack love for self? No, no, they are the very opposite of self. Being (kinda) sober-minded, they know the butterflies in their stomachs are ready to go out and make someone else happy. The problem is, these people are so used to being loved that they actually do not know how to love someone the proper way. Perfectionists, in their majority, they internally affirm some sort of ideal of love that, if not met, fails to be love in every form. For them there are no corollaries, love is not peripherical, but ideal and formless. Being formless, the form in which they feel they should love fails to hit their standard. The result? These people can’t love! Put a person who cannot love and one who cannot feel loved together and you will have a fun experiment. Whilst the former example needs to learn his/her self-worth in Christ, the latter needs to let go from their desire to be loved, which is safe, to actively love, which makes one vulnerable. Being a perfectionist myself, I know the struggle. And although the explanations above do not perfectly account for my own experience, they are right on point.

We Long for Love

What the latter example means by this is, “I long to be loved in a non-demanding type of relationship just like the one I had with my parents when I was younger. They used to love me and spoil me, hold back some words, not care about themselves, all that so that I would be happy. From me, nevertheless, nothing was expected. I was just a child and therefore was not obligated to love back. Can I please have that again? Or will I be in love with my parents and only my parents for the rest of my life?” On the other hand, however, the former example means, “I long for someone to love me as my parents did. Not loving deeply, but superficially. I long to love them and dedicate my life to them so that they might see my worth, yet I do not want them to recognize that. Even if they do, I won’t, so it doesn’t make a difference.” Do you realize how “being in love” is different for everybody? I could cite 150000 more examples but two will suffice for now (from what I see in life, these two are the majority).

The latter needs to move out of the child’s position and step up as a parent, if one wants to be in a fruitful relationship. The former needs to learn to be loved, and in doing so experientially learn the doctrine of the imago Dei. Whilst, one needs to become an adult, the other needs to be a child; whilst one needs to love, the other needs to accept love.

On a next text I intend to expand the reason many fear intimacy and don’t enjoy being overcome by their feelings. That will set up the foundations for me to be able to start working on “what is love”. But first things first, so stay tuned :)

God bless you!

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