Multiple people over the past few weeks have brought to my attention, in their own ways, the struggle that our society - and perhaps more specifically, the female community - have in loving themselves. But the oddest part about it is that from the outside, we appear to have it down. Feeling stressed? Take a bath, drink tea, here are a hundred and one essential oils that will destress and also make you loose weight girl you are going to be happy. We're so good at fixing ourselves by someone else's remedy that we forget what it feels like to actually be happy. Truly happy. Content.
"5 Ways To De-Stress" is potentially the most attention grabbing title, whether for a post, a video or a pin on Pinterest, which in and of itself points to a fallacy in the way we deal with difficulties. There's a heckuva lot of stress running in and out of our communities, and we bounce it off of each other like little bolts of lighting. "I'm so stressed right now." "Really? I bet I'm more stressed." I would like you to honestly declare you have never thought something along those lines to yourself in conversation with another woman. It's almost like the lack-of-sleep conversation: we've got some sort of unspoken competition that the woman who is handling the most right now must be the best - must be a warrior, that one - because she may be going crazy, but "she's just got a lot going on right now." The more stressed she is, the better she must be. We can't blame her for her mistakes; so maybe they won't blame us for ours if we just say that "we're really stressed"?
We're really good at excuses.
I get it: we need grace - goodness knows I can't and won't debate that one, because I know how I often need it. (Read: every. living. second.) But you know, I think beneath all the pretense of stress and anxiety (a real thing, yes, but something that could be a lot less real if you dedicate yourself to your prayer life and daily reading of Scripture) - beneath all of that, we are lead by something much simpler, the age-old desire in us for attention. It hasn't changed, even though it's masquerading under a different name. It used to be cool to have it all together; now its cooler to be stressed and anxious, as if you need to prove it to the world that you really are doing Something.
We're fighting so hard to get the approval of others because within ourselves we lack that intrinsic value of our own existence.
Self love does not start with your friends, and it doesn't start with you either. The only way you'd ever be evinced into loving yourself - as Lewis says, in many better words, we are our own worst enemy - is if we feel loved already by a worthy love-giver. Not a human love, rife with errors and mistakes and yes, even selfishness within the best of them - but a true, pure Love. When we understand the true depth of the love of God for His creation, (meaning you, reader) we are forced to put aside the misgivings we have with ourselves because His love is perfect, and it cannot be argued with. We don't feel deserving, but we can't refuse it.
If a love that great will pursue us, how can we do anything but agree?
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with Love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of out Lord Jesus Christ." 2 PETER 1:5-8
And now I'm going to go take a bath and have a cuppa because there isn't a complete lack of sense in those self-help articles, (for all their impenetrability), is there? :)