To know love, is to know self
It’s quite a common thing these days, the understanding that in order to be able to truly experience love with someone else, requires you to love yourself first, have self-belief.
As much as anyone can without it venturing down the narcissism scale too far. But how? To what extent? What does ‘loving self’ actually mean? It actually sounds a little messed up to me.
Self-love is one of those things that seems to get misunderstood, I often see examples of people not really getting passed the ‘love yourself, put yourself first’ part of it. As though it gets stuck somewhere between the real self and the ego. And so instead of being ‘self-love’ it becomes more selfish and narcissistic.
The ego has nothing to do with authentic love or self-worth, but I get why it becomes a grey area, it’s a fine, delicate line we all walk. And we all slip into both sides from time to time. The trick is finding balance.
What it’s really about is self-acceptance. Knowing self. Being comfortable in your own skin. You can’t or certainly shouldn’t physically love yourself, I’m not even sure that’s possible. The far end of the ego-centric narcissism scale is probably the closest any human can get to it. The term ‘self-love’ or ‘self-care’ is actually just the act of looking after yourself like an adult, valuing your existence, life itself, nurturing a healthy body and mind.
So the idea of “To know love is to know self” is where for me it makes more sense, and highlights what self love actually means. If we agree that to be able to love someone else we must first love ourselves then surly we can agree that in order to ‘love’ ourselves we must first know who we actually are.
Understand ourselves. Our values. Accept ourselves. Go to the deepest, darkest, most frightening places within ourselves and come out knowing the guts of us in all their glory and despicable grimness. We should know and make friends with our fears, with what holds us back. The differences between who we were, who we are and who we want to be.
The best and the worst of us, forgiven, accepted and celebrated. To the point we appreciate ourselves, appreciate our place in the world, that we in fact have a place, and that simply being ourselves is enough meaning, enough purpose that we’ll ever need.
To have faith and trust in ourselves so we may be able to have faith and trust in something or someone else too. To know what contentment feels like. What pain feels like. What unadulterated happiness feels like. What love feels like.
If it’s love we seek, the misconception growing up from the world around us is that love lies in the arms, the eyes, the responsibility of someone else. That it’s something we receive from the outside. We of course do, there are people out there that do love us. There are also people out there whom we haven’t met yet that will love us too. But there are also those who don’t and won’t. Don’t know how to or simply don’t give a fuck. And that’s okay.
The only love we’ll actually ever have or need is within us already. We just need to dig deep to find it sometimes. How could we possibly recognise the authenticity of true love when it’s presented to us on the outside, if we don’t know what it feels like to us on the inside?
Just a thought.