As we approach St. Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about love. Mostly when we think about love, we equate it with a feeling that flows outward towards some person or something: “I love my mum,” “I love chocolate,” “I love my partner.”
In the Christian faith, we also understanding love as flowing outward. I couldn’t count the number of sermons I’ve heard that equates Christian love with self-sacrificing love. Love of others, even to the point of self-sacrifice, is a wonderful thing in its right time and place. However, for many, especially perhaps for women who have been socialised to put the needs and desires of others before their own, loving others at the expense of loving self can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing.
I can’t remember hearing a single sermon which has focussed on self-love, love which flows inwards, yet it is at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus taught, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbour as yourself.” There is no sense of self-sacrifice in these two commandments. Rather what is implied is this: God loves the world therefore we love God with all our hearts; God loves the world therefore we love our neighbour as God does. God loves the world therefore we love ourselves as God loves us. For those raised on concepts of self-sacrificial love, this is healing balm.
The Bield is about loving God and others, but it is perhaps most about loving ourselves. We encourage our guests to ground themselves in self-love and self-care – taking time to breath more deeply, to nurture their weary spirit, to listen to their body, to awaken to their own desires, to rest, relax, sleep, create, wander, read. Grounding ourselves in self-love on a daily basis can help us find balance and wholeness and this is critical to our wellbeing.
So, continue to love God and your neighbour but make time to love yourself as well by building some self-care practices into your daily routine.