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You owe yourself love

I woke up recently with thoughts of the many times I had tried to please people at my own detriment. The many times I had to put others first, before myself, simply because, I thought they deserved better than me.

I usually thought to myself, “I don’t need this, you need this; your need should come before mine”.

Eventually, I end up with regrets. The people I tried to please did not really care as much as I did for them. They won’t make the same sacrifices I would make for them. They will always put their own happiness before me.

This caused a debate with myself. Who is wrong? Am I foolish to sacrifice my happiness for someone else’s pleasure? Or are they wicked or insensitive not to replicate the gesture?

After a long battle of thoughts, I had to come to a compromise with myself. Both of us were right, and both of us were wrong.

I guess it is so easy to skip one of the most vital lessons about love; you cannot love someone more than you love yourself. Don’t be in a hurry to skip that without understanding what it really means.

The undisputed wisest man in the world once said; “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

The first thing we always see is the “love your neighbor”, but we hardly go into the “as you love yourself”.

One of my favorite teachers, Joyce Meyer helped me to see this word of wisdom in a new light when she said; “you cannot love someone else, if you have not learned to love yourself”.

To someone who has been living in self-doubt for many years, this was too much to handle. I mean, I could not say no to people, just because I thought they would not be happy with me. And everything I did never felt enough. I hardly ever felt enough for anyone.

But this new insight kept me wondering, asking myself questions. Would I ever be good enough? How much do I need to do to be good enough?

The more questions I asked myself, the more I realized, “it starts with you”. You cannot be good enough for anyone if you do not feel good enough for yourself. You would never be able to love someone else enough, if you have not learned to love yourself enough.

As kids, we were taught; J (Jesus first), O (Others next), Y (Yourself last). In short, what we were taught was that the secret to joy was putting everyone else before you.

It does sound like a honorable thing to do. A life of sacrifice is really what we have been called to. But there is a thin line between selfless sacrifice and selfish sacrifice.

A brilliant Lawyer and Teacher once said that it is possible to give yourself to be killed and not have love. My heart skips a bit whenever I read this.

Sacrifice is not enough if it does not come from the place of love. And love is only possible when you have;
1. Learned to love God
2. Learned to love yourself
3. Learned to love others

This should be the heirachy of the love chain. It is not selfish, because, you really cannot give what you do not have. You cannot be moving around looking for love from people – this is selfish.

You should not love someone just to feel good (It does not usually start this way, trust me. But it usually ends this way).

You should love someone the way Christ loved – He gave Himself for us.

He was only able to give Himself because He knew that He was enough for us. He had no doubt about Himself. Gave Himself the attention He needed, stayed away from people to find more about Himself and His purpose.

He may have been going about doing good, but he spent as much time with Himself and His Father. According to Dr. Luke, He grew in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and man. This was possible because of the amount of attention He gave to Himself and to His growth.

So, when it was time to make that selfless sacrifice, He was the perfect sacrifice.

Stop trying to be someone else’s hero when you are not your own hero.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. Don’t forget to share with someone.

What do you think?

Written by Temitope

Temitope Durotoye is a Hope and Self Discovery Advocate. He is proudly African and loves to see young Africans be the best versions of themselves.

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