Do You Love You?
Aya Fubara Eneli, M.A., J.D.
Valentine’s Day has come and gone and like the aisles of endless options of chocolate and
stuffed animals and gifts those giddy feelings (if you had any) tend not to last very long. In the midst of it all, the thought occurred to me that while we are searching for love everywhere, many of us have failed to first look within to find and grow in love with ourselves.
Whitney Houston’s amazing life with all its ups and downs, I daresay, could teach us a lesson or two on the importance of self-love. I fell in love with her and the dream she
represented when I first heard her sing ‘The Greatest Love of All.’ In that
legendary voice she poured the words written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed,
“learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all” into my very soul.
I didn’t much love myself back then. Too much trauma, too many secrets, too much pressure trying to hold it altogether and live up to other people’s perceptions of who I
should be. But God used Whitney to awaken a dream in me … a dream that I could
be whole and really, really like and love myself. That song started me on a journey to self-discovery and ultimately self-love.
So what is self-love anyway? I ask that of many of my clients when they can’t seem to
figure out why they can’t rid themselves of the endless guilt, why they constantly sabotage themselves and why there is always a gaping and unmet need in their heart. Not surprisingly, many struggle with the answer.
In 1956, Erich Fromm a psychologist and social philosopher wrote that loving oneself is
different from being arrogant or egocentric. He stated that “loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself.” He was of the opinion that in order to be able to truly love another person, a person needs first to love oneself. To love oneself, I believe one must first accept God’s love.
Self-love is essential if you are to become who God designed you to be. Self-love is best
taught in childhood through honesty, acceptance and unconditional love. However,
since many adults are plagued with self-doubts and limiting beliefs, they project these onto their children and the cycles of self-rejection and low self-esteem is replicated. But, you have the power to stop the cycle now.
The Bible teaches that love is patient and kind. It does not envy and is not proud. It does not dishonor others, including oneself. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love rejoices with the truth. It always hopes, always perseveres.
Now apply that definition of love to how you treat yourself. Are you patient and kind to yourself? Do you get depressed when you envy and compare yourself to others? Do you dishonor yourself by agreeing to do things that are contrary to your values? How long do you replay your past mistakes and allow them to prevent you from moving forward? Do you hold on to hope when things seem to go wrong? Do you persevere?
Self-love must be cultivated and nurtured in order to flourish. Begin by meditating on how uniquely and wonderfully you are made. Celebrate your strengths and submit your weaknesses to God. Forgive yourself. Don’t spend another year in self-loathing. This is your time to learn to love again… starting with yourself. I wish you an abundant life.
Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach,
Motivational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. Join her at the First Annual Women’s Abundant Life Retreat on May 3-5, 2012 in Belton, Texas. Register today at www.ayaeneli.com/special-events.php/special-events. php, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.