Last night my eyes were starting to shut while reading in my living room. I shut the book and glanced at my phone.”I could get away with one last Instagram check.”

Then I paused. I remembered the 45 minutes that went by last night after this mistake. And the snack I had afterward. And how tired I felt the next morning.

Then again, today turned out fine. I survived the poor sleep.

But would repeating this cycle really be loving myself? Do I love Instagram more than I love myself? Do I love the comfort of this chair more than I love myself? Do I love another late night snack more than I love myself?

Then I stood up and went to bed. End of story.

Why was I able to win this particular micro-battle?

To me, hearing “love yourself” has always been one step down from the drivel found in fortune cookies. No substance, all sugar, self-indulgent, narcicistic.

Yet when thinking of it as, ‘Do you love yourself more than these external things? These comforts? These habits?'

They feel trivial compared to the epic story of who I am becoming.

From last night’s experience I learned the value of pausing. I learned the value of reflecting on negative memories and feeling the disenchantment in my bones.

Most importantly, I learned the value of comparison—I asked myself:

“Are you a divine creation of God with the responsibility of free will?” or “Are you a biological slave grasping at dead matter?”

Pause for a moment. Reflect. Take your pick.