Self-Love Series Day 9: Charles "Quay" Andrews
Before writing this post, I asked myself. “Selflove?”. Do I really understand what that means? I am “twenty something” years old after all so shouldn’t I know what this means by now? The answer was once a resounding no, but a few years ago I really began to find out what self-love means and recognize it doesn’t “happen” at a certain age either.
I can’t speak for all men but for most of us the first step to selflove is embracing vulnerability. We must accept we are hurting and will never find peace trying to cover it up.
I believe black men of all ages have experienced an internal battle of wondering who we are and what we are supposed to do in this world. At a young age we subconsciously blame ourselves for not knowing how to deal with questions that arise in our everyday life. Queries like, Girls, Sex, Money, Values, Failures, Guilt, Porn Addiction and Drug Usage come to mind. We battle these areas wishing we knew how to handle them, but for some reason never do. A big lesson I learned was that for most of us, THIS IS NOT OUR FAULT.
True, we must take responsibility for our actions; however, we must also understand that many of us were never taught by another man how to selflove and as a result adopted most of our identity from external sources incapable or unwilling to develop our manhood. Be it the radio, tv, internet or, sometimes, our own parent’s depression; we are constantly fed a negative view of ourselves. What’s crazy is that we scarcely ever notice.
I once heard the fastest way to destroy a man is by attacking his ego. When my first crush rejected me as a teenager all I could ask myself was, “why doesn’t she like me?” “What did I do wrong?” “Why did it have to end like this?” “Is there anything I can do so we can be more than just friends?” I became so caught up in what she and others thought of me that I began to mimic portrayals of manhood from popular tv shows. I was subconsciously suppressing my authentic self and in the process never realized how bad it would affect me later in life.
It wasn’t until my first “real” relationship that I was confronted by unresolved issues regarding my ego and father. During our relationship I gave my partner my entire heart and forgot to love myself as well. When she said jump, I asked how high. If I was feeling insignificant I’d remedy it with sex. When I couldn’t “control her” I would find ways to manipulate her, so she would stay. I eventually found myself in the exact scenario that I vowed never to exist in:
It was in my solitude that God forced me into submission, so I would learn a great lesson. From my experience, God rarely gives breakthroughs when crowds are present and external noises prevent us from hearing his still voice.
When God taught me to shut up and talk to him, Corinthians 13 4:8 was his answer to my lack of self -love.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
It’s a simple verse that ended twenty-two years of confusion.
Today, it is more important than ever to understand that we must be kind to ourselves while living in a world that is built to destroy us. We must be patient and persistent along the journey of self-discovery. Selflove is not just about loving yourself. It’s about allowing others to love on you and uplift you. I’ve learned that selflove is “quality of friends”. Your quality of friends can either make or break you. Choose to have great people around you who push you to better and not worse.
One of the worst forms of self-punishment is to hold grudges and allow shame to keep you from freedom. Whether it be my father leaving me as a child or being rejected by a crush, forgiveness was one of the first steps that allowed me to heal. Force yourself to let go of ego. Forgive the mistakes others have made against you and more importantly, forgive the mistakes you’ve made towards yourself.
I get a lot further in life when I let go and trust God to do his thing. The world brings stress, grief and constant disappointment, but The Man upstairs only brings happiness, joy, peace and revelation.
Does that make sense?
Selflove is simply exercising the same passion, joy and affection that God has for us on our own deserving selves. Apply that to your life and watch how drastically things begin to change.