• Gisèle Schembri

Love Yourself First

There are a hundred and one love songs and a hundred others about lost love. Actually, multiply those figures by some other big number in order to cover just how many songs have been spun around the topic.

I believe in Love. Truly, I do. It fills my days, nights, thoughts and is amazing and necessary to a healthy happy life. Love comes in all forms, as Rockabye (Clean Bandit), The Perfect Fan (Backstreet Boys), Papa Don’t Preach (Madonna) and so many other songs show. In fact, the Greeks explained it best when they broke down the different types of love to more accurately describe them. We have all experienced Philia love, hopefully feel an Agape love for those close to us, and might thrive on a wonderful relationship with a partner that embodies all three kinds, including Eros.

Why am I saying all this? I am no stranger to love and I would never say it is unimportant. However somehow all these love songs irritate me. Just like I once pointed out that gift-giving is not a true indicator of the greatness of the love of a parent for their child, so I must now comment on the absurdity of lyrics that proudly advocate that without that other person we are nothing.

We are ourselves and no one else. Love is important, love fills us with happiness and definitely sharing life with our perfect partner gives a satisfaction that can’t be described or quantified. However we should be whole in ourselves and let Love come as a compliment to our Wholeness rather than let it be a requirement for us to become whole.

A friend of mine tried to tell me this over and over for months on end. I denied ‘needing’ love, I tried to disilllusion myself and him that I was fine without, that I only wanted to meet my ‘match’ to thrive. A keyword that. THRIVE. Even as I tried (and probably failed) to convince him I was fine, I told myself how wrong he was and how I knew so much more than him about love.

It turned out not. When after a tumultuous year and a legal marital separation I moved out to live on my own for the first time ever, I finally found myself. Slowly, piece by piece, I put it all back together as I learnt to accept to forgive myself for my past mistakes, allow myself to be vulnerable and meet new people who seemed like they would be good for me (and actually were!) and slowly flowered from a wreck that needed herbal calming pills to sleep or at times even to face workmates and my mother, to someone who is sure of herself and Whole within herself. More than ‘Need’, now it is a ‘Want’ for love that I have, and then only with my perfect partner. I stopped clutching at straws. I have stopped looking at people with ‘tinted glasses’ as someone pointed out to me more than once. I know who I am, I know what I want, and I am happy in myself. Love is wonderful yes, gives joy and all things amazing too when it is the ‘right’ kind of love for us. And yet Love is so perfectly delicious only if we are already in love with ourselves first. I have finally learnt that my friend.


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