Love is what love does
Over the course of time, I believe the meaning of this word love has become diluted, distorted and disrespected.
Love is a learned behavior. We learn our perspective of love from those who nurture and cultivate us early in our lives. If we are being raised in an abusive environment, we can and most likely will associate love with abuse. We will believe that we are deserving of being belittled, beaten and badgered because the person is showing us love.
On the other hand, if we are raised in a home where we experience compassion, forgiveness and encouragement. We are more likely to identify love and a gentle kind expression. However, this is not true in all cases.
The most important perception for is to have is loving ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, we truly can’t love anyone else. What does loving one’s self look like? Many of us I would imagine feel that we love ourselves. This is true, based on our definition and perception of love.
I’ve spoken with several people across the diversity canvas and found some similarities and differences between each of them. The most common similarity is that people believe they love themselves but had a tough time providing evidence beyond just saying “I know I love myself.” Once we were able to get pass that, the differences in how they love themselves is very, very different.
Love has been defined as an intense feeling of deep affection, a great interest and pleasure in something, a friendly form of address and to like or enjoy very much. Love’s base line, its foundation is about doing what’s in the best interest of.
In loving ourselves, we need to do what’s in our best interest. Again, I’m not saying that people don’t love themselves, if I truly love me, I won’t participate in that which will destroy me. If I’m smoking cigarettes, it would be fair to say, I love smoking more than I love myself. There is nothing wrong and everything right about loving ourselves, doing what will bring us joy without bringing heartache and destruction to ourselves or anyone else. Are we really loving and loving us ourselves to our max capacity? Or are we just loving ourselves to what seems to be convenient?
If loving myself is wrong, I can’t afford to be right.
Rev. Demetrius Moffett is Senior Pastor of Orange Church of God-Embassy of Grace, 1911 North 16th Street in Orange.