Sunday, 29 May, 2022
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Why Self-love Is Not Selfish

Nasih Ul Wadud Alam

Why Self-love Is Not Selfish
Nasih Ul Wadud Alam

The world was created out of love, for love, and being loved. Because of human empathy, the world is shining in its own glory. The universe around us is fascinating and abominable too. When I visit the Chattogram zoo, I see the swagger tigers’ show. I wonder what the caged tigers would do to humans if they could break their restricted selves! Tigers bring in me the sense of fear with their angry eyes. On the other hand, the caged birds’ twittering sounds and enjoyment in each other’s company make me feel the importance of living in harmony, albeit among different species. Tigers being predators are ferocious because they need to protect their territory and they consider human beings their rivals, rightly so. They do it out of love for their own safety and protecting their own children. Similarly, the apparently innocent caged birds do turn vicious when it also comes to protecting their territory. Unless humans domesticate them, they do everything in their limited power to protect their territory and offspring. Should we call them cruel? Not at all! What we learn from them is the importance of self-love and the parental love that they are endowed with.

When 14 February arrives every year, the love in the world grows double. To make this day special, lovers use their imagination to keep their counterparts happy. Even misers end up spending money for their counterparts. Many singletons frustrated about not finding their desired love observe this day as their own mourning day. While working at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, I saw a procession of single men and women, humorously lamenting over their current status and showing their ire at the couples celebrating the day without any concerns for their fellows who are yearning to get a lover but not getting it. As their last resort, many singletons shower their parents with love and kindness which we truly deserve.

When I was single, 14th February would give me palpitations (with my heart racing, screaming and longing for the unknown). I hated this day. The whole world went out to date, but we three brothers ate our lunch and dinner at home with sadness written all over our eyes. My father always encouraged us to have affairs but we could not even manage to start our respective relationships for many days. Then, on one sudden day, my elder brother found his love and his younger brother, which means this poor writer, also followed suit. Having an affair is not easy. We need to have a stable income. No children should have an affair with their parents’ hard-earned income, so it was difficult for both the siblings to maintain our relationships from our own coffers. Luckily, we found compatible partners to help us overcome the difficult times.

Because of the social media platforms, we get so many updates that nothing goes amiss. Even though, I try my best not to read the political news somehow the news reaches my ears. Even when I read comments on YouTube, I do not find enough comments written with respect and love. Constantly, celebrities are facing abuse which they do not deserve. I do not see the readers doing constructive criticism. We are passing hateful comments on others’ appearance and even their children too. Why do we need to worry about other peoples’ dress-patterns? Are they purchasing it with our money? Why do we need to stalk them? Is their love for them hidden somewhere? Are we frustrated for not being able to follow their style? The problem we have in Bangladesh is we do not love others. We do not shower people with kind words. There is no human empathy. People with toxicity are making others toxic. We try not to find positivity even if there are reasons to feel positive about something.

Therefore, I think we need to have love for ourselves. If we do not feel good about ourselves, we will not feel better about others. When my colleague gets promoted and I do not get it, I feel bad about it for a day or so. It does not mean that I will not give her the respect she deserves. If I do not love my job, my service at the workplace will be abysmal. If I do not love my students, I will not get their respect in return. Even if I become a hard-taskmaster, my students should realise that my intention is noble. If students do not trust me, no matter what my motif is, it will be of no use. Whatever relationships human beings have, I do honestly think that we should love ourselves to love others, liberate others to liberate ourselves, and give space to others to enjoy our own space. My third kid was born on this day in 2019. Is she my greatest gift? No, I am my greatest gift. If I am not happy, how will she be happy with me? Therefore, I love myself first and foremost. So, love yourself first. Also, love others to love yourself. Then, let the rest follow!

 

The writer is a Lecturer, Department of English, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Chittagong Independent University