You probably read the title of this and thought, “Oh, she’s going to regale us with tales of romance.” Or, “She’s going to rhapsodize about choosing love for others over all else.” Oh, you weren’t thinking that? I’m the only one who uses words like regale and rhapsodize on the regular? It’s cool. I’m at peace with my nerdiness.
Anyway, I do want to talk about love, but not totally in the traditional sense or expected way. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of love and commitment. What does it look like? Can you have one without the other? And which one comes first?
Concrete answers elude me, but what I’ve managed to figure out is that the two go hand in hand. I can’t think of a single instance of love that doesn’t involve commitment and vice versa. The love a parent has for a child is cemented by the parent’s commitment to care and provide for the child. Later in life, hopefully the child does the same for the parent. Two people choose to do life together and perform a ceremony before friends and family, sign legal documents and share a mutual last name to celebrate their love by showing commitment. My faith dictates that God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son for my sins. He’s so committed to me that He made the ultimate sacrifice.
All of these observations have led me to a revelation of sorts: If I love myself, why aren’t I committed to doing what I know is good for me? Or is it that I have to commit to doing what’s good for me as an action of love? Isn’t love in its simplest form merely a series of choices made over and over again? A choice to do what’s best for the one you love?
This whole summation may seem basic enough, but the truth of it all settled into me slowly, like rays of sun on a Spring day. The coldness of neglect, putting me last, not acknowledging my worth, were absorbed by the warmth of this knowledge. I’m worth committing to. I’m worth choosing. I’m worth the action of better choices each day.
What does this mean practically? It means going to bed at a decent hour, despite how much is left on my to-do list. It means going to Zumba class twice a week because I love shaking my rump-shaker. It means taking a walk even when I don’t feel like it, because it’s what’s best for me. It means taking time to cook delicious nutritious food. It means watching a movie and letting myself get swept away in the fantasy, because I need a mental break every once in a while as much as the next person.
I don’t know where we learned the lesson that self-care is optional. And it seems like women are determined to ace this unnecessary class, for whatever asinine reason. But whatever is erroneously learned can be re-taught in a more enlightened and compassionate way. I’m learning to love me more and more. It’s manifesting itself by my commitment to treating myself well. I’m really starting to think that’s way it’s supposed to be.
If you’re already on your own journey of self-care, I commend you. On the other hand, if you’ve allowed yourself to fall by the wayside in a misguided belief that you’re supposed to be last on your list, I implore you to start with one small act of kindness for yourself. Don’t allow anything to distract you from it. Make a pledge to yourself not to neglect it. Once you see that the world keeps right on turning, add another act of kindness, and another one. Commit to it. You deserve it. You’re worth it.
Have you ever fallen into the trap of neglecting yourself? How do you deal with unwarranted guilt when you take time to do things that only benefit you? In what ways do you regularly commit to showing yourself love through action?
6 thoughts on “Committed to Love”
You nailed it.
Female self-neglect and doormat behavior certainly didn’t originate with God: Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, and James 2:8 all say, “love thy neighbour as thyself.” God didn’t say it was wrong for us to love ourselves, just that treating ourselves and other people right and well are the same thing.
Christine, YOU nailed it! “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is quoted so often as a reminder to treat others well, and I’m always thinking, “So…we’re just going to gloss over the self-love part?” Pump the brakes. That’s a huge admonishment to treat ourselves well. Thanks for pointing this out. 🙂
I think that sometimes we get so caught up in life goals and plain ole living that we tell ourselves, “I’ll take care of myself tomorrow.” And it never happens! One thing I’ve realized is that I need people in my life who will encourage me to relax and take care of me, otherwise, I’d be in “go” mode all the time and wouldn’t stop to just breathe, be, and have some fun. I used to feel guilty for taking a break from things, but not any more!
Yay to guilt free breaks! I don’t know when or why we start feeling guilty for doing something just for the fun of doing it, but I had to let that junk go. Thank God for people in your life that don’t mind telling you to “Sat down!” lol. We want you around for a long time, Quanie!
And what people don’t admit about the Type A go, go, go folks is that 9 times out of 10 they wind up having a heart attack, stroke, ulcer or some other stress related illnesses. Rest is a requirement, not an option. I’m starting to think of it like water and food. I gotta have it!
What you said about ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ is SO on point. I have never once thought about what that means to love myself in relation to that verse, Christine.
A few years ago, my husband and I started taking the Sabbath seriously. We do all our running around, chores, ect on Saturday and on Sunday we rest and relax i.e. watch movies, read books, play video games…and we don’t feel guilty. No matter how our Type A personalities try to tell us that we ‘we’re wasting time.’ And it’s been a game changer, and I actually look forward to hitting the ground running on Monday.
The Good Lord rested on the 7th day…we should all take a page out of His playbook.
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Wise and insightful, Simone. Thanks again.
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