The definition of self-love in today’s society is an illusion.
The idea that love for yourself is fundamentally measured by the amount of likes on your filtered selfie should be a crime within itself!
The notion that you are somehow incomplete if you don’t have another person to love you back brings tears to me eyes (mainly because I once believed that notion).
Speaking of incomplete,
I can’t help but to think about the number of times that my worth was tied to my level of success or the weight of someone else’s approval.
Frankly, it feels like a never-ending magic show.
Loving yourself takes effort. That’s the part we don’t like to admit. In a culture where instant results equal instant gratification, we struggle. I struggle.
Just give me the quick how-to methods to love myself more, right?
Wrong! Loving yourself is a part of God’s design.
In it’s simplest form, loving yourself means to give yourself grace, to choose peace, and to continuously pursue wholeness.
Want proof? Allow me to reference a Bible passage that has now become a mainstream way of thinking about how to love others:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
While it is automatic to look at these verses and assume it’s talking about how to love others, consider this: What if the Apostle Paul was also teaching us to love ourselves?
Let me explain.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
These first few lines are probably the most profound because they force us to ask ourselves some important questions:
- How patient are you with yourself? How kind are you when you make mistakes or don’t meet your own measure of satisfaction?
- How envious are you of others, and what does that say about how much you appreciate who you are for who you are?
- Do you pump yourself up to because the real you is not “enough”?
Let’s look some more:
“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
When we dishonor others, we are not loving them. If the way we love outward is a reflection of how we love ourselves inwardly, then the above words matter.
For example, if we dishonor others, we also have the potential to dishonor ourselves. If we anger easily towards others, we likely get mad at ourselves easily as well.
Essentially, we must give ourselves the same level of grace and respect that we know we should give to others.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Again, these words directly correlate to how we treat each ourselves. Here are some other questions I had to ask myself when reading this passage, which helped to put this all into perspective for me:
- How honest are you with yourself? How many stories do you tell yourself?
- Are you protective of your time, your values, and your heart?
- Even in the most difficult circumstances, do you maintain optimism?
The key message of all is that love never fails. Regardless of who you are or what you’ve done, loving yourself will never fail and will always bear the fruit of a happier, healthier life.
I encourage you to take some time today to reflect on how you love yourself. That’s the first step to change for the better.