Do you love yourself enough to be happy? Here’s a recent conversation with a friend.
Friend: “I love you with all my heart.” And then later in the conversation, “I’m so sad and miserable.”
Me: “Do you love me enough to want to see me happy?”
Friend: “I love you so much that it would break my heart NOT to see you happy.”
Me: “You need to love yourself enough to make YOU happy, too!”
So many people throw the word love at others, but they quite often forget it for themselves. If you look up Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in the Christian Bible, you get an idea of what love is.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
All of those things can be expressed both outwardly (to others) or inwardly (to yourself), and they should be expressed every single day!
I know that I love my children, and I simply want them to be happy and full of love. When I have a pet, I want it to be happy in my home and know that it is loved. How do I show this to my loved ones and pets? I feed them healthily, I interact with them, I regularly remind them of their perfect place in this world. Why then do we, as adults, so often fail to do this for ourselves?
I see so many people living a miserable existence because they stopped believing in their own happiness, and yet, they throw the word love at others with the expectation that others will love them and make them happy. Love comes from within and oozes out to others. It is not a word that gets thrown into a crowd with the hopes that somebody will give it back to you in kind.
One of the greatest thinkers in the western world spent countless hours contemplating what makes man happy and fulfilled. Aristotle pioneered the study of human happiness, and he had much to say on the subject.
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
The state of happiness doesn’t have so much to do with feeling happy (subjective) as it does with the well-being associated with happiness (objective). When something is happy, it is healthy and thriving. I will often point out that my plants are “happy” when they are thriving. I give them love and care, they blossom, and thus, they are happy. True love for something will bring about its happiness because you will care for it so that it prospers.
I know people who live in abject misery. They are what I call “wallowers”. They are negative thinkers, and it shows in their physical and mental states. Some of them are in relationships where they say they love the person they’re with; however, I can see their love is more like a stranglehold on that other life. They aren’t looking out for their other’s happiness. They are not contributing to their love’s ability to thrive. They are not tending and feeding their love, they are grasping at it and holding on for dear life hoping it will keep them afloat. If you ask them how they show their love, they will say things like, “I do this for her” or “I give him this”. They don’t necessarily consider whether or not what they are doing will help the other person radiate, they just do with the expectation they will receive love, and thus happiness, in return.
I can keep a bird in a large cage and give it food and water and toys to play with, but is that allowing the bird to reach it’s full potentiality? Does my care and feeding make the bird love me? Am I helping that bird to grow? Do I love it? I can say the words, but if I truly loved it enough to care for its happiness, I would never have it in a cage to begin with.
While there are moments, such as times of grief and mourning, when we will lean on those that love us, we must be reciprocal in our tender-loving-care for it to work. Leaning on somebody through a difficult period shouldn’t be a crutch for life. Taking somebody’s love and not turning it into happiness is doing a disservice to all concerned. You must tend to YOU through proper care and feeding (and freedom?) because, in the end, we all want to be happy.
Love is happiness. If you’re not happy, love yourself enough to be happy.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”