As Yourself

photo by Ben White

This time of year we talk a lot about being present with the ones we are spending our time with. We see posts encouraging us to put our phones down, turn off the TV, and unplug from social media for the holidays. I think that as a society we absolutely have a very real problem with the amount of time we spend distracted verses being fully engaged with one another. However, I think there’s another piece that we are missing when it comes to being present…

What if the real problem is that we also don’t know how to be present with ourselves? 

What if this holiday season we committed to put down our phones, turn off the TV, and unplug from social media for ourselves? For me anyway, I can become so focused on how I am presenting and functioning for other people that I forget how to show up for myself. I am actively trying to live out the “love your neighbor” part of the verse, while forgetting that “as yourself” comes right after. What if loving, showing up for, and being present with others starts with learning how to be present with ourselves?

I think it does. 

I think when Jesus said “love your neighbor” it was out of the assumption that through God’s love for us, we would first and foremost learn to love ourselves. But how can we extend Gods love to others, if we still can’t embrace that love for ourselves? How can we be fully present with others if we can’t even sit still with ourselves?

We can try, but what we often just bring to the table is a tired overwhelmed soul that runs on empty and can’t say no. 

Even as I write all of this I struggle because it feels like a lot of me me me type content. Talking about how we should care for ourselves feels uncomfortable and selfish. We are so conditioned especially as christians to live out the “love your neighbor” while neglecting the “as yourself”. This is why we have churches filled with burnt out leaders, and families filled with toxic relationships. People have forgotten how to take care of their own souls.

A broken, tired, or weary soul can fake it but most likely still won’t make it. 

As an enneagram 2 I want everyone else to show up for me in ways that I don’t even show up for myself. I could have 50 people reach out and ask me how I’m doing, but still feel lonely and forgotten. How insane is that??? So I’ve started asking myself “Olivia, how are you today?” Sometimes I don’t want to tell others because I haven’t even gotten real with myself.

So all that to say…

I am giving everyone who is reading this permission to care for your own soul this holiday season. Your energy matters. Your boundaries matter. Your happiness matters. Your sleep matters. Your time matters. Your needs matter. 

You matter. 

But don’t just take it from me. You have to believe it yourself.

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