Philautia: Self Love
The caption to every motivational Instagram post is always Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I can run the fastest mile. I can shoot the most hoops in basketball. I can move mountains. I can literally do anything because Christ strengthens me. I can do it because if Jesus Christ, the man who has made the impossible seem possible, believes that I can, then surely I should too. But, have you also taken a step back to believe in yourself too?
Philautia is self-love (a righteous self love, not vanity). It tends to be the one people forget about because it is heavily stigmatized. We have this notion that if we care for ourselves, it means we are being selfish, which is not necessarily true. In airplanes, we are told to put our mask on before we help others put theirs on. Why? It’s because you and the people around you have more chance of surviving if that happens. Does that make you selfish for putting your mask on first? Definitely not.
We all want to be the perfect Catholic with no sins and to impress God as much as we can because He blessed us with so much. The seed in the good soil is what we strive for. But, we forget that God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He doesn’t want us to strive or survive, He offers us abundant life (John 10:10) so we may thrive. We are more than enough, not because of what we do, simply because we are His. He doesn’t choose to love us because of how ‘perfect’ we are, He loves us for being us.
God, our Father believes that you can do anything in Him. He chooses to strengthen you and provides the tools you need to get to where you need to go. In Agape, we talked about how He chooses to love us and provides an unconditional, merciful, and compassionate love. We were all (yes, that includes you) made in His own image. So, if God is love and we were made in His image, then we must be made to love and for love (that is if I did my math right, but trust me, I'm a bioengineering major).
The well known verses of 1 Corinthians 13 read,“Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This bible passage defines what love is. So, there is a nice exercise we can do with this passage. If you are love, then try to replace love with ‘I’- do you treat yourself and others with this kind of love?
“I am patient, I am kind, I am not jealous; I do not brag, I am not arrogant. I do not act disgracefully, I do not seek my own benefit; I am not provoked, do not keep an account of a wrong suffered, i do not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoice with the truth; I keep every confidence, I believe all things, hope all things, endure all things.”
When we choose to see ourselves in the light of love and in the light of God, we can better love one another. We can help others put their mask on too. The God who has made the open seas, all the creatures in the world, the Sun and Moon that give us light and darkness took His time to make you. And He finds you very good.