Do you love yourself?
When you ask most people about what they do not like about themselves, it takes a very short time, almost none, to give plentiful answers.On the other hand, most times, when asked what they do love about themselves, the ability to answer the question gets shattered and thoughts fail to flow freely into words. Most people tend to judge more than they love and value themselves. In fact, many of them, Christians included, have described how they criticize their own self more than other people criticize them. Why? The sad truth is that not many people have mastered a priceless art that allows us to first love ourselves, and be able to spread that unconditional love to others.
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Self-love is Biblical. Do not get me wrong, it is not Biblical to be arrogant, selfish, self-centered and self-conceited, and acting in self-gratifying ways that end up hurting others. However, appreciating oneself as Wonderfully and Fearfully made and loved by God despite perfect imperfections is a beautiful path to seeing others the same way and loving them unconditionally- even when they are not being kind and responsive in return. In Matthew 22:39, Jesus asks us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This means that to able to unconditionally love those around us, it has to come from a place of first loving and valuing oneself. Remember, we are able to love others because God first loved us (1st John 4:19), and we should not elevate ourselves but should see ourselves as equal to others by loving them as we love ourselves.
There are many ways that you can practice self-love, which equip you with capability to love others in the same way. These include valuing your identity in Christ, nurturing your relationship with God, not comparing yourself to others, taking care of your body, stewarding your talents and strengths, living with intention, celebrating even the smallest wins, pursuing happiness and appreciating where you are at in life. You don’t have to wait until you accomplish something spectacular to become someone worth loving. And by recognizing that, you will be able to love others unconditionally. It all begins with you.
If you’re struggling to love and value yourself, you can start with a simple prayer:
Dear Lord, teach me to love myself and view myself the same way you do, so that I can learn to love others with the same love you have for me. Amen.