Have You Ever Thought of Loving Yourself?
One of our core values is to recognize brokenness so it can be made whole. We believe God desires for each one of us to say yes to walking towards wholeness. We believe God cares about our anxiety, our relational baggage, our addictions, our apathy, our relationship with our body, our neighbors and ourselves. We have a growing community of women walking towards healing, as well as a community of counselors who are partnering with us to this end. We hope you not only enjoy hearing a counselor’s voice here, but that you open yourself up to the transformational work God is personally inviting you into so that you can see His healing as a reality in your life…
Have you considered just how important it is to love yourself? Of course, that includes your physical body, i.e. your coloring, your height and shape, even your physical gait. But also, and even more importantly, it includes loving your inner self.
We all desire good things like friendship, fun, and our needs to be taken care of. But does that mean we like our inner selves? Or is that just basic hedonism (pleasure seeking, self gratification)? In fact, possibly your desire for pleasantness is mostly to assuage or counteract your discontent with your inner self.
How do you get deep inside? How do you touch your innermost self?
Try this: as you sit quietly to know God- “Be still and know, that I am God! (Psalm 46:10)- so also contemplate who YOU are as you sit with God. Look inside yourself. Seek to get to know yourself as well.
Who Are You, Really?
Imagine that you could be present at your own birth. You see your head being born, your shoulders, and then your whole body has come into the world. You have graduated from the womb to the world, and you take your first breath. You are ready and waiting for life to come to you. What a beautiful one you are.
Consider the precious state of this newborn you. At that time, you did not know what this birth meant or what was ahead for you. You are a pure, innocent, and naive little baby. You await life coming to you; you have no expectations. You have not experienced either good or bad in the world. When you were designed by the Lord at your conception, your genetic script was embedded in your very first cell. That, your very own DNA, all contained in one very important first cell, to be present in you throughout your entire life.
Remember that you are the creative work of the Lord God Almighty. Psalm 139:13-15 (NLT) tells us that the Lord or God created us… “You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.”
Do you like, even love, this baby you? Or do you feel some kind of aversion to your baby self? Perhaps it seems that she or he is the sponsor of all your life problems. Or, perhaps you experienced anger and abuse, or dullness and depression from your early caregivers. Perhaps you experienced rejection, rather than full love and acceptance. Any of these negative situations informed you that you were not worthy. You may or may not remember such events.
But whether you consciously remember or not, your inner self does remember. You then reflect the pain you feel perhaps in your own attitude toward yourself, or in the way you interact with others and the world. Or you may reflect that pain in your own experiences of depression or anxiety.
If you are one of the lucky ones who can feel love toward your baby self, then rejoice and feel your peace. That is a precious place to be.
Does scripture actually indicate that we should love ourselves?
Whatever place you find yourself, know this: our Lord made you. The Lord loves you. And our God of the universe wants you to love yourself. That is, to love yourself deep within the innermost place of you.
Everyone makes mistakes. We can be so thankful that God forgives us in our repentance. We too have the privilege of apologizing to whomever we have offended and also of forgiving others for their mistakes. Making a mistake is not a platform for disliking your inner self.
Consider The Great Commandment as Jesus spoke in Mark 12: 30-31 (NLT), “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ …”
Notice the two words, as yourself. Jesus doesn’t elaborate on them. It is simply ‘love others as yourself.’ We quite clearly see that Jesus assumes the love for self. He includes it in His statement as something right and fitting. In fact, it is His way to describe what loving others would look like.
Further understanding of what this love of self and others means can be seen in the instructions of Leviticus 19:9-18. In this passage there are multiple decrees instructing the Israelites in regard to proper and kindly interpersonal behaviors.
Verse 18 sums it up with, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Again we see those meaningful words as yourself. The passage indicates that the standard for kindness to others is revealed in how we ourselves desire to be seen and treated. Obviously the passage assumes that you love and have positive regard for yourself.
You might ask, “If I actually loved or even liked my inner self, wouldn’t I be obnoxious, arrogant, and haughty?” Are you concerned that loving oneself might create such arrogance in a person? I think it is highly unlikely. When a person is accepting and comfortable with their inner self, they are more likely to be pleasant, accepting and gracious with others. It is more likely that those who seem flaunting or self-absorbed are actually unsure or uncomfortable with who they are deep inside.
Practice grace and love toward yourself.
Set out to develop a gracious attitude toward yourself. Remember the Lord’s grace and kindness towards you. You are worthy of His love and care. Therefore, know that you are worthy of love toward yourself.
This post was written by a counselor or therapist for informational use only and is not intended to replace advice from a professional who is working directly with you as a patient [or client].
I came over from the counseling bundle and it jarred me that you mentioned this subject. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” I have cried at the fact, it’s no wonder I feel like an American With Out Love (AWOL) when I often detest myself for the struggles I face both physically and mentally regarding self-value/worth. I really needed to hear the above from the perspective you gave.
It’s going to take some time changing my mind about myself. But I am sure that if it has been done by others before. It can be done again.