Self-Love, The Gateway to Pure Love (Chandel Gibbs)


I have been there before: in a repetitive cycle of mental, spiritual, and emotional abuse, whether it was relational or familial. Internalizing hurt and pain, and settling for what is because of what I perceived to be potential. However, the latency in potential should never be a substitute for abuse of any kind. Potential should always incite growth, rather than begetting complacency and stagnancy. But I was young and I did not know myself enough to know better.

Loving one’s self is so fundamental – the trajectory of our lives manifests from the love that we give to ourselves, and it influences our relationships, friendships, and interactions with strangers. The very essence of our Creator is love, and the Bible says to “love your neighbor as yourself”. But how can you reciprocate to others that which you have not given to yourself? Or what do you do when your worst enemy is the “inner me”? You either perpetuate a cycle of abuse, or become chained to a prisoner that perpetrates abuse. The greatest tragedy is that in an attempt to free themselves, these prisoners become even more tangled with another prisoner that is just as broken, weak, and helpless as they are. And “love” is used as a decoy; the word is perverted and stripped of its purpose and original intent.

I am no expert but I know that until someone knows who he or she is in God, he or she is completely incapable of love, the way that it is intended to be. Love encompasses so much, and includes a willingness to be vulnerable. A false pretense only bears a misrepresentation but true love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Even with all that said, it is not abuse. Love is not self-serving; it does not tear down or cause harm. It may sound contradictory to my last statement, but love starts with self; we are receptive to what we give to ourselves. If we have deeply-rooted insecurities, no matter what type of facades we put up, we will be receptive to people or situations in our lives that reinforce those insecurities. When we have insecurities, we will tolerate abuse of any kind, because of the need for approval or validation. Oftentimes, we are blinded to the fact that a person is doing us a great disservice, because the desperation to be with someone deceives us into thinking they are doing us a favor, when in actuality they are exploiting our insecurities.

Lastly, focus on your inner disposition. I know that society reinforces messages about external beauty, and typically relationships are sparked by physical attraction – but oftentimes these relationships remain stuck on the infatuation phase. Looks will fade, flattery will cease, but your true self will always remain. Focus on refining that, and becoming what you seek from external influences. That way the egotistical and narcissistic folks will be making their exit upon their entrance, because you won’t need their validation or approval. You will be content in who you are and your self-assurance will attract someone that will love you the way that you need to be loved.

I am in no way perfect, and I am learning myself so that potential will become actualized. I know that love is honest, without pride, and without arrogance. It is patient, it is real, and it exists everywhere. It is in every breath that we are permitted to take, every honest smile shared between strangers, and it is in God's plan, in His mercy, and in His hands. In the meantime, be the best version of yourself that you can be. That’s all love should ask of you. 


Chandel Gibbs is from New Haven, CT. She is a mother, mentor, and community building specialist. 

Honoring the collective voice of womanhood, the Lessons From Love series was created to provide a community of support for women currently in love, or healing from love. The series will use personal narratives + testimonies to empower women to make effective dating decisions and to pursue the love they rightly deserve. 

If you're interested in being a last minute contributor, submit your 700-1000 word piece to Please include your name, website (if applicable), and brief bio.

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