Happy day friends. It’s Sunday – maybe you have a day off from your income-making labor, maybe you’re home with the kiddos working more than usual since they have no school, or maybe it’s a day you have all to yourself – whatever is before you, I have a word I’d like to share with you today – enjoy being with you.
I say this because it’s the word I have needed for myself for a little while now. I have not enjoyed myself lately – neither being with myself nor being myself. As of late, I had lost touch with the fact that I am, or can be, an enjoyable person to be around. I know that sounds like a funny thing to say, and I don’t mean it in any weird or arrogant way; I just mean that yesterday morning I remembered that I can be quite fun. I can be goofy, loving, encouraging, friendly, attentive, thoughtful, strong, grounded, intellectually engaged…and, because of all this, I make pretty good company—even to myself!
So I took on the day with the intention of enjoying the fact that whatever the day had in store, I got to share it with me! I got to be with myself through it all – and you know what, I’m not half bad! 😊
I know I seem silly right now, but the reason this is my word today is that as of late, I haven’t felt like good company. I have been consumed by the things that have felt like my failures. I have been sunk, stuck, in my sadness, sorrow, and grief, and have been unable to tap into the other aspects of my being. I forgot I had other aspects of my being! I have them, of course, but I forgot them. I hadn’t been able to access the fact that I am more than just the low moments, the sad moments, or the things that I consider my personal failures.
dare I admit it?
I forgot that I have intrinsic worth.
I forgot to value my own be-ing. We are of intrinsic worth. This is true for me as it is for you. As living, breathing, feeling, relational beings, we have intrinsic worth, just as do all other living and breathing beings, which for many of us, includes all existing beings (for is that rock, stone, or river not also a sacred being?). There is life in us and that in itself is sacred and must be honored.
So yesterday I decided to get back in touch with myself – to enjoy myself and make friends with myself again. I hadn’t experienced myself as enjoyable for a long time. Recently I have been most keenly aware of the ways in which I let people down, the ways I am not enough for them, and in the midst of this, I lost touch with my own intrinsic value and likeability. I am likeable! But if I am not in touch with the good in myself, what does this do for my ability to see, celebrate, and honor the good in another – truly and genuinely so? For how do I not also bring my own distorted sense of self to my interactions with you?
You, my friends, my kin, are beautiful. You are of sacred worth, value, and dignity. You have experiences only you can know and understand – experiences to which others will only ever have limited access. Because of that, you are in the best position to love you best. Love begins with you. Love begins with me. Our ability to love, our practice of love, begins with our own selves.
Do we understand our own sacred worth? Our own intrinsic value as living beings?
It’s a struggle. I have difficulty valuing myself compared to how much more easily I can actively strive to value and affirm you. I can be generous and gracious toward the human being before me, but can sometimes fall into the trap of doing so out of a zero-sum framework, as if I am not also worthy of receiving that graciousness and generosity.
My challenge to myself, then, and to you, is that we not lose sight of the fact, of the very real possibility, that this moment can and should work out for both of our good.
You are beautiful. You are so beautiful.
Love yourself today. Enjoy being with yourself. Take time to recall all the favorite things about yourself, for you are so very awesome. I love you and I will love you even better as I also remember to love me, just as you will love me better as you also remember to love you. And I mean love in the best and most revolutionary of ways – love that creates movements and transforms worlds.
In her recent book, Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism, Keri Day suggests that “love is not merely an ideal sentiment but a concrete revolutionary practice. Love is a movement. It is movement toward each other. For black feminist and womanist religious perspectives, love has been a practice of self-actualization as well as a strategy for constructing compassionate political communities” (105). Love as a movement involves us both. We need to focus on both me and you; you and me. It’s part of what makes the movement – caring for all of us involved.
So, today, start by enjoying yourself – enjoy be-ing yourself and being with yourself. Let’s commit to doing this together and together we can bring about the revolution.
Xochitl Alvizo, loves all things feminist, womanist, and mujerista. She often finds herself on the boundary of different social and cultural contexts, and works hard to develop her voice and to hear and encourage the voice of others. Her work is inspired by the conviction that all people are inextricably connected and what we do, down to the smallest thing, matters; it makes a difference for good or for ill. She teaches in the area of Women and Religion, and the Philosophy of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality, at California State University, Northridge. Her volume, co-edited with Gina Messina-Dysert, Women Religion Revolution, is available through FSR Books.