By Samantha Solomon
With all of the stress bogging me down right before graduation, I wasn’t really looking forward to hosting my family for the weekend. In those chaotic times, my first thought to their driving up from Irvine was “How am I going to get through this weekend?”
And yet in the late Friday afternoon, with the sun hanging low, my mom and dad hugged me after 6 months of absence from their presence. Suddenly, I felt the stress of the last few weeks melt away under their embraces. What was I without the love of my family, who continuously support me and keep me whole?
Love doesn’t have magical powers. It is not a potion one can drink to feel ultimate strength or ultimate wisdom and it is not a spell that we can cast to banish all of the darkness in the world, as much as we’d like to try. Nonetheless, love is a power. It can give us strength when we need it and passion when we are missing our motivation. It can lessen the ills of everyday life when we feel the most overwhelmed and upturned by our jobs, our school, our friends, or even ourselves.
The love of my family brought me back from the edge of insanity that day, but it also sparked a moment of clarity for me. If outside love can help ease my worries, why am I not channeling my inner love, my self-love? I was refusing to see the power that my own love could have and it was leaving me anxious and reluctant to see my own family during a moment of great accomplishment.
We all need to stop worrying about other people’s love and start focusing on our own love. We must spread it and share it with the world, as we can find peace and joy in this simple act.
Even more so, we must spread that love onto ourselves. Roald Dahl once wrote a fabulous poem that always comes back to me when I think about this topic. He says, “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
I believe this is where our basic notions of self-love stem from, as well as the very power that is derived from it. Good thoughts—about others, about yourself—can manifest into pure beauty and delight. The idea that if we don’t love ourselves, we can never truly love anything else stems from Dahl’s proposition: with self-love, our power increases exponentially. With each look in the mirror and reflection inward, we reveal more of that power until it bursts from our hearts like sunbeams.
What an image, right? It’s a place of being to which we all must aspire.