Ilove Love.

I love writing about it.  I love talking about it. I love reading about it. I love songs about it. I love being in it.

I’m fascinated by its depths and spans; intrigued by the way its presence and absence can affect you. Astounded by its ability to both hurt and heal.

Last night, though – well, early this morning, truth be told… I wasn’t very loving to myself.

I lay in bed, tossing and turning, reliving all of my love mistakes. Every wrong turn I made. Every wrong I allowed and kept going back for more of. All of the love that bore the name but was in truth something else.

Each time my heart got bruised of my own accord. All of the times I tried to force love. Each time I acted in love but it was received differently. Every time I gave love where it was undeserved. Each time I tried to work against love. Every time I found myself grabbing at the trailing mists of love lost, trying to bring back something that was better gone.

Memories came, some searing in their intensity; to the point that I cried out to God and asked Him to put an end to it.

He didn’t though.

Instead of ending it, He allowed the onslaught to reach a crescendo, where I found myself on the fuzzy edge of an understanding that became clearer with each passing moment.

There was a charge.

Love. Tisha. Better.

I’ve put a lot of energy into loving other people. Whether it is my child, a family member, friend or partner. I end many conversations with “love you” and send random messages thanking people for loving me. I compose texts to remind people how much they’re loved. I want them to know that I love them.

I sit here admitting though, that I haven’t ever put that same energy into loving myself.

Why is that?  Why would someone so full of love not give it to herself?

Lots of reasons; some of it is not public fodder, but what I will say is…that very act itself…is not loving. It is an act of violence against self. And it’s a dishonor to the God who knit me together in my mother’s womb on purpose, lovingly forming each limb, every nook and cranny, everything I’d ever be.

It is both counterproductive and counterintuitive to have something great and not visit some of it upon yourself. Why do we do that? Who told us that we aren’t worthy of the same love we give to other people?

So today, on this random day in a random month, I made a decision.

I’m going to begin to love Tisha. I’m going to celebrate her, encourage her. Forgive her and clap for her.

I’m going to free her.

I’m going to *love* her. Hard and on purpose. Deeply and intensely. Unapologetically.

If you saw yourself anywhere in here, I invite you to do the same.

What does that look like practically?  Where do we begin? I know the task may seem daunting, but listen, sis – you and me? We’re worth it. I can say what it is for me, but your blues might not be like mine.  It could mean any combination of the following:

  • Taking yourself out on a date night
  • Ending a relationship where you cry more than you smile (ANY relationship: friends, romantic)
  • Signing up for that class at the gym
  • Blocking out time to meditate/pray
  • Going back to school
  • Getting in some therapy
  • Forgiving yourself
  • Journaling
  • Buying your own flowers
  • Changing your self-talk
  • Learning to say “No”
  • Learning to say “Yes”

Whatever it looks like, the end goal is just to love you better.

You are the only you that you get. You deserve a full and complete you.

So many of us are out here pouring from containers that have been empty for so long we wouldn’t even know what “full” feels like. Life depletes us like that.

But sis? I challenge you, even as I challenge myself, to find out.

Let’s get full.

Love you better.

–Tisha Elle

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