I love February. I love how he is different from the rest of his family, and he flaunts his uniqueness by being the shortest month in the year. And every four years, he decides to be one day longer (I’m using “he” because months are masculine in Spanish and French). I think I identify with February because I’m also the oddball in my family in so many ways which I will go into in next week’s blog.
Whether February is also your favorite month or not, I’m sure you are influenced by him in one way, shape or form. You can’t go into a retail store without seeing Valentine’s Day and anything relating to love being advertised and sold. There are plenty of reminders to love your family, friends, significant other… but how often do you remind yourself to love yourself?
I’m not sure when the whole “Self-Love Movement” started, but it seems like every other posts I see (especially in February) are about self-love. Loving yourself is absolutely necessary to live a happy life, but the reason for self-love — in my opinion — can sometimes get misinterpreted. There is a difference in self-love and selfish-love. Self-love is accepting who you are at the core and knowing your worth, and doing the necessary work to be the best version of yourself that you can be; and through this process, you’re able to love others greater than you’ve ever loved before. Selfish-love — which is the complete opposite of self-love — is indulging in pleasure to fulfill your current (and temporary) desires with the end goal being all self-serving.
I’m not saying taking a day to get pampered or having “Me Time” is the bad thing; we all need a break to retreat and rejuvenate. What I’m talking about is when taking care of yourself becomes a self-absorbed ritual where that becomes the end-goal instead of it being a tool to improve your mind/body/spirit for others.
I have experienced both self-love and selfish-love. Last summer, I took a week-long sabbatical to work on writing my book. I checked in to an AirBnB for that week and slept in every morning (being that I was in a city one hour behind, I was waking up in between 6am and 7am without an alarm), meditated, prayed, read my Bible, went out for meals by myself and spent majority of each day at a desk, writing my book. It felt great to take a pause from my day-to-day duties to have some solitude, but I did not take the sabbatical to indulge in my desire to be lazy and be entertained. As much as I wanted to binge-watch shows on Netflix, I took time to carry on my goal of finishing my book so that I can share my experiences and practicals of biblical meditation with the rest of the world. This was a time of self-love for me because I took time to rest, enjoy slowing down, but it was with the intent of becoming a better version of myself for others and for me to accomplish my goal.
On the other hand, I remember when I was overwhelmed with stress from work and indulged in selfish-love (this was when I had a fast-paced, high-stress position in a Fortune 100 Company): I would come home, make dinner and spend a few hours with my family, and then I would lock myself in my home music studio for many hours to compose, record and edit songs. I thought this “Me Time” would allow my stress level to go down and feel better, but my stress level and outlook did not change; if anything, it contributed to me becoming more self-absorbed. Because I used creating music as an escape from reality, it neither improved my well-being nor get me closer to my authenticity. I do, however, believe that this was a necessary step in my journey to becoming more self-aware.
I say all this to encourage you to take time out for yourself in a way to use Self-Love as a tool and not as a goal toward your authenticity.
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