Friday, February 11, 2011

Loving Yourself~ A Spiritual Article by Rachel Melillo

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  - Matthew 22:37-39

Love.  Love.  Love.  With Valentine’s day coming up sooner and sooner every day, Love is everywhere.  But these verses focus on a slightly different type of love, the agape kind of love, not the eras kind of love (‘Eras’ being the Greek word for romantic love). 

The first reference to love is used by the Greek word ‘agapeseis’ which translates (as literally as possible) to ‘you shall be loving’.  The root of the word, ‘Agape’ we often translate to ourselves to be something along the lines of ‘love unconditionally’.  The suffix “-seis” is the command form of the verb agape, adding in the ’you shall’.  Jesus didn’t say this as a ‘as a good idea, you should…’  No, he was very specific in what he said as it was a commandment. 

Normally, people focus on the fact that we should love God and then others…but I’ve noticed that they leave out the ‘love yourself’ part of the verse, and it’s super important.  When I think about it, if you cannot love yourself with the agape kind of love, it’s hard to love God with your entity, and it’s even harder to love those around you.  How many times have you said to yourself, “Ugh I wish I were skinnier.”?  -Raises hand- I know I have.  How many of you have said “Why can’t I be as skinny as her?”  Again, I’m guilty.  When it comes to that question, you’re guilty of breaking both the greatest commandments.  In one sense, you can’t love God because you’re not loving the person that he’s created you to be, and you can’t love the person that you’re envying because you begin to resent that person (and God) for being the way they are.  Whether its subconscious or conscious, it happens, and that’s a problem. 

So what do we do about it?  I’m sure we’ve all heard the ‘You’re perfect the way you are’ speech, but does that ever do any good?  Well, sometimes it does, but most of the time we simply brush it off and refuse to believe it.  I’m not going to claim to have all the answers.  That would be silly of me, considering I’m only eighteen and I’m still trying to figure out my life.  Advice I do have for you, however, is to become comfortable with who you are.  Stop envying other people.  I’m not the skinniest person on the planet (not even close!), but for the most part, I’m fairly comfortable with who I am.  And while I continuously struggle with loving myself, I can handle being comfortable with who I am.   

So this Valentine’s day, instead of focusing on the boyfriend you do or don’t have, focus on how you can love God, yourself, and others. 

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