The Politics of Self Love

“Echo and Narcissus” by John William Waterhouse

Self absorption must be a beautiful thing for those who practice it. For my part, I have never quite understood its workings.
I know all the arguments for self-love. It’s a dog eat dog world where you need to arm your handbag with a canister of self preservation to survive. All for themselves or it’s the apocalypse, etc.

So yes, I get your self love.

But not when it seeps into the parts of your life where you need to love others.
We learn to love other people we believe in. People for whom we can let down our shields of self love.
Why? Because we believe that they are worth the love. Even if it means loving ourselves a little less in the process. Even if it means having to dip into our little treasury of self love and handing it out to people who mean that much.
Of course it backfires sometimes. Still, we soldier on with some hope and humanity.

But, I am sorry if your self love blinds you to the fact that sometimes, only sometimes, you’ve got to put your baggage away and make the effort for your friend or loved one.
There have been times when you felt like being at home and spending some much needed alone time. And then, a hysterical friend calls you, asking for help. Of course, it is human to take care of yourself and prioritise. But sometimes, you go out and meet that friend because you decide that for once, loving him/her is more important.

That is the entire premise that relationships are built on. You believe that it is worth it to step out of your safe shell and make someone else happy. Why, because you have faith that the person is worth it.
So yes, love yourself. But not to the point where it takes you down a deep well and blinds you to all the happiness that you can create in the world. Don’t make the earth colder.

Then, you will never know the joy of making someone happy by walking that extra mile.

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6 comments

  1. Very true. I believe that in order to love others you must first love yourself. But there is no greater love than love that is given away, self-lessly. When we do that, without hesitation, it only enhances our self-love as well. And speaking of wells, you can only drink from wells that are not empty. Same is true with love.

  2. True words. Also, I think those who never let let down their shields for others end up being the most bitter and sad. Never letting people in prevents true happiness.

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