“HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO LOVE YOU IF YOU DON’T LOVE YOURSELF?” is what she shouted before flinging the hairdryer at my head.
Several hours later, I woke up with a terrible headache. Not because my head was struck with a plastic appliance but because the question continued to resonate. How could she love me if I don’t love myself?
I tried loving myself once when I was much younger. Middle school to be exact. Self-love was in vogue at the time, as it always is when boys approach puberty, but I never took to the habit for I knew God would disapprove and it is not in my nature to clean any mess, especially not a mess of my own excretions conjured during a clandestine session of self-love. That being said, there must be a way to love yourself without the mess.
What do we know about love? We know that love is a fickle thing and can only be judged on a case-by-case basis. If there is but one universal truth about love in its truest form, it is that love is actually all around us blind.
Please, excuse the cliché but it is essential to learning to love ourselves.
Believing in love’s blindness is so much more than ignoring physical disfigurements to achieve engorgement. When we believe in blind love, we also overlook emotional and mental faults and ignore any impulse to criticize or challenge the person we love blindly, no matter how much they may deserve it.
We need to become that person we love blindly if we are ever going to learn to love ourselves. We must submerge the flaws we see in ourselves in self-love until they have drowned and all we are left with is unflinching confidence that any potential lover finds irresistible. Over time, if we are able to dismiss any thought that is remotely critical of our actions, thoughts or feelings, a love of self will flourish.
Some of you may see this as misguided, thinking that loving one’s self blindly to be a breeding ground for arrogant and narcissistic tendencies that will eventually push away the people that may love us, defeating the entire point of the exercise. Well, to you I posit this: Who needs the love of another if we can achieve a love so complete directly from within ourselves? After all, if you want a job done right, you’ve got to do it yourself…