(Part 2 of 4)
Self-Love Definition: Love of self: an appreciation of one's own worth or virtue.
It looks like this title caught your attention and you’re here to read more about it. Awesome. Now tell me, what thoughts or feelings did that title evoke in you? Are you struggling with self-love? Or do you have a good sense of self-love and want to grow it even more? Or is this a foreign concept that you’ve never heard of?
Whatever your answer is, please allow me to walk you through why I think self-love is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. And how it is the foundation of every other relationship in your life.
God is the Source of All Love
Let’s start with where to get this self-love from. God Himself is the epitome of love. So where else would we find love other than the source himself? God proved His ultimate love for us by sending His Son to die on our behalf, so that we may be reunited with Him. His love for us is everlasting and unconditional. When Christ died for mankind on the cross, He did not only die for everyone, but especially just for you. I know that can be a hard concept for us to wrap our minds around, but it’s a foundational concept we must understand. His love for each of us is personal and special.
God loves you and therefore you should love yourself. If the most perfect Being loves you to the point of death, then why in the world would you not also love yourself? What is holding you back from diving straight into loving yourself? Is it the thought and shame of your past mistakes?
Forgiving Yourself is Essential for Loving Yourself
If your sins are hindering you from self-love, you need to know that this is from Satan and not from God. Because once you’ve repented and confessed, your sins are erased and you’re as good as new. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Satan has a way of making us feel worthless and unlovable, and that’s total (for a lack of a better word) garbage. Ladies, forgive yourself. If the Almighty Judge has already forgiven you, why are you still punishing yourself? Lift your head up high and walk confidently knowing that forgiveness renews all, and from that you can start or continue on the path of self-love.
Let’s take the Samaritan woman as an example. When God’s love touched her, she could not contain her joy. She ran to the town people and told them about Christ. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ ” (John 4:39). Here is a woman who went to draw water from the well at the most undesirable time so she would not run into anyone. She was embarrassed about her lifestyle, and when the Lord asked her about her husband she didn’t give him the whole story. But through His gentle and loving way she found forgiveness and was made new. There is no doubt that her self-love and love for God grew tremendously through that experience.
Love Yourself so You Can Love Others
There is a great Ted Talk I listened to about self-love (if you can’t already tell from last week’s post, I love Ted Talks). In it the speaker says, “Once you decide to love who you are, you can then take that love that you have for yourself and spread it to other people. Because without that self-love you limit your ability to pour into the loves of other people and add value to them.” I’m going to take that idea a step further and say that on top of self-love you need to be also filled with God’s love.
God is the source of all good things. From Him we learn what true love looks like. And as human beings we long to receive love and give love. But in order to give love you must draw that love from Him. We cannot give what we do not have.
How many relationships in your life are depending on love? Maybe it’s love to your parents, siblings, friends, or - if applicable to you - a spouse. All those people need love from you, but you can run dry if you are not filled with love for yourself and love for God.
So here is a simple breakdown:
Before I got into a relationship with my husband I was at a place where I was very comfortable with who I was as a person. I wasn’t looking for someone to complete me. God was already doing that for me. I struggled a lot to get to a place where I fully loved myself, but thank God I made it there somehow. And because of that I could give love and receive love in a healthy way. Self-love is instrumental in any serious relationship.
An issue that can occur when we lack self-love is trying to find it in an unhealthy way. Some people lack that self-love and place such a heavy burden on the close people in their life to fill that hole for them. Or in their search for love, they can compromise themselves and their values just to get the attention they so desperately want. If you are struggling with this I pray that your eyes are open to see your true worth, and you fall so deeply in love with God and yourself that you are no longer tempted by false love from others.
Self-Love is Key
Loving yourself means you are in control of your own joy. You recognize that God’s love is the first and foremost love that you need, and that you actually already have it! You’re working on loving Him and getting to know Him. Once you’re filled with self-love fueled by His love, you can now love others. That self-love is such an important foundation for everything else in your life.
I love to write things down. I’ve started getting into the habit of writing letters, especially when I’m super zealous, to myself to open at a future time. The letters are usually titled, “Open When You Need Encouragement,” “Open When You Feeling Like Quitting," and “Open When You Need a Reminder that You are Enough.” I’ve recently added one titled, “Open When You’re Lacking Self-Love.” I encourage you to do the same. Your letter has to be personal to you, write about your struggles and your motivations for overcoming them. Keep that letter around and read it when you need a little boost of positivity.
This is the second post in a four part series about seeing the greatness in ourselves.
Part 1 - Unconditional Self-Worth
Part 3 - Achievable Self-Esteem
Part 4 - Lovable Self-Image