Ultimately, radical commitment to “self” is not empowerment but a form of fear and enslavement. An unwillingness to change or sacrifice is the sign that something is frozen and dying; it’s not the mark of a vivacious woman who is pursuing her best life.
I came of age in the milieu of articles like The Atlantic’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” which wrestles with the sacrifices women make in their career to be a good mother and raise successful, well-adjusted children.
Today, however, a shift seems to have taken place in our cultural narrative that views marriage and children as secondary to a woman’s purpose and value in life. This is the case with Lara Bazelon’s New York Times article “Divorce Can Be an Act of Radical Self-Love.”
The most concerning part is her relentless commitment to self, at the expense of her marriage, family, and even her own ability to grow. Indeed, this isn’t “self-love.” It’s a fear of change that fuels self-glorified behavior. Refusal to change, to grow, or to be formed through the relationships around you is what the dead do. Radical “self-love” philosophies have more in common with a graveyard than a living person. Think of the beloved stuffed animals we held as children or the oft-read books we love today. Even these material objects bear the marks of our affection. How much more does that of a living human being? To be alive means that your relationships, your responsibilities, and your environment necessarily change you and require something of you.