Today’s topic is love, and our featured guest is no stranger to Joywithin blog.
The self-love wave has officially hit the shores of many parts of the western world, and though i’m not a fan of the ‘me-first’ or ‘me-most’ movements, we are all the fruit of LOVE and its true essence that springs from above. The trend of today somehow gets fused with flavours that smell like pride, ego and vanity but the truth is we are called to love each other…to love our neighbour as ourself; not to love others instead of ourself. To do that means we must know love and accept that it first knew us.
We don’t own it; we are just a conduit. Love has a name.
In a climate where hate and harm towards others and self seems to be a rising crisis, Korena Darnelle‘s message of love is a welcome one.
Loving Yourself For Yourself: by Korena Darnelle
“The saying, no man is an island is something that holds true for all of us, no matter what part of the world we are or no matter how we identify ourselves. The truth is we all want similar, if not, the exact same things.
It’s like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, at some level, no matter the quantity, we all want food, clothing and shelter (Physiological), health and personal security (Safety), friendship, intimacy and connection (Love), freedom, recognition, respect (Esteem), and the desire to be the best we can be (Self-Actualization). Some of these things we can get on our own, but others require us to be dependent on others to truly achieve them. The main one I ideally want to focus on though is love or more specially loving yourself.
Many times we hear it in the songs we listen to, or the movies that we watch, or even in our personal lives…I love you. Three simple words, but yet so powerful that many have fought over them, given up their freedom because of them, taken their own lives or the lives of others because of them, sold their bodies because of them, maybe even sold their souls. All for a taste of those heartfelt words to be uttered from someone else’s lips to their ears. Those words are words that evoke a deep desire, raw emotion and almost an animalistic crave within us, one that I’m not sure if words could truly explain. But why is this so? Could it be that the desire for connection and intimacy is so strong within us that we’d do just about anything for love? Just about anything to hear the words of love, to feel that sense of love, to find that love?
Oftentimes these words are said from one to another in anticipation of hearing those same words uttered in return. But many have been left shattered and disappointed because so many times those words are unrequited. But have we ever really considered the possibility that the true key to love and all it entails is simply… loving yourself first?
Through the years I too am guilty of struggling with the reality that in order for me to truly love someone else, whether my partner, my spouse, my child, my parents, my friends, I really have to love me first. I have to love who I am and in doing so, love all that I am before I can ever really truly love another person. I often wondered, how could this even be possible? Each time I really thought about myself I saw all the things that I didn’t like; all the things that weren’t perfect or all the things I thought just weren’t good enough and my self-esteem waned.
The other girls were prettier, weren’t they? Or they could sing better than I could, couldn’t they? Or I was too short, or too dark, or too slim, or too much or too little of something. I just wasn’t enough and that was my constant struggle. So when people finally did show interest, either I gave too much in excited anticipation or I gave too little out of deep seated suspicion.
Now I can’t really pinpoint the day it all changed. Maybe it was a series of events over a series of days, months or years. Maybe it was the things I started exposing myself to or maybe it was when my desire to do and be greater than I was set in. Maybe it was understanding the love God first had for me or maybe it was just the day I finally looked into the mirror and said, ‘I love you’ to myself, for my own ears to hear and accept and believe and to trust and to hold on to. Maybe that was the day it all changed or maybe it was what came next.
What came next was the time to stop comparing myself to others, and fixing what could be fixed. What came next was me accepting the gifts and talents I had and seeking to gain a better understanding of how I could use them not just for myself, but also to help others. I always hated wearing glasses and still do, but I invested in contacts because they felt like the real me.
I loved my natural hair but hated the length of it, so I started researching how best to take care of my hair and what products would work best for it. I stopped wondering about why I couldn’t do this, that or the other and wondered instead how I could use my love for writing, speaking and photography to make me happy.
In short, I started loving myself for myself. And it was a whole lot easier than I thought it was.
Korena Darnelle is an author, photographer and the host of ‘Balancing The Hats‘ podcast. She lives in Barbados with her family and is a cherished guest writer on Joywithin blog.
‘Learning To Love Yourself For Yourself’ by Korena Darnelle was first published on itsjoywithin.com