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Loving Yourself

Written withPASSION

No one hates his own body but feeds
and cares for it, just as Christ cares
for the church.
~ Ephesians 5:29 NLT 


Self-love is rarely (if at all) a term used growing up. Its counterpart ― selfish, receives all the attention.  We were taught repeatedly not to be selfish. To think of others before ourselves.  To share our toys and time.  Then as adults, to care and provide for our families.  To serve our communities and churches.  And while all of these are laudable, we missed one key lesson ― taking the time to love ourselves. 

Due to our parents and society’s good intentions, we are made to feel guilty about doing something for ourselves vs. doing for our kids, spouses, homes, and work.  It becomes too much of a burden, so we say, “Forget what WE want. Let’s focus on what everyone else wants.  It would be selfish to do otherwise.” We believe we will gain satisfaction once everyone else is taken care of.  Besides, this is what we were born to do, right?

WRONG!

The biggest mistake we make with this belief is communicating to ourselves that everyone else is more valuable and worthier than we are. That they deserve our time, and we can just take the leftovers.  There are only 24 hours in our day.  We spend most of it at work and asleep.  Therefore, if all the hours in between are divided between God, family, and friends, where do we fit in?   

When we are constantly doing for others, feelings such as exhaustion, resentment, and depression take root.  We begin to feel sorry for ourselves and our situations. We are no longer our bubbly, joyful selves.  And we end up doing the opposite of what we set out to do ― love effectively and take care of others.   

~Breaking the Cycle~

Learning how to self-love is no small task.  This is especially hard for those of us who believe “me-time” is in the same circle as being selfish.  But we have to break this cycle.  Here are some intangible ways you can begin loving yourself. 

  1. Believe that God truly loves YOU. That His love is not predicated on what you do for Him.  This helps you to know that no matter how many “do-good” items you check off your list, you are loved the same ― without the checks. 
  2. Believe that validation comes from God, not people. Not even yourself.
  3. Accept that you are good enough and God accepts you for you.
  4. Believe in self-affirmation. When we can affirm ourselves, we don’t look for it from others. Thus, we give of our time freely, not out of obligation.
  5. Accept you are not perfect. No matter all the tasks you get accomplished, there will still be one more thing you could have gotten done, something you could have done better.  Accepting this truth relieves you of always having to do or be better, possibly giving you some time to “love you.”
  6. Don’t compare yourself to others. This will get you nowhere.  It’s impossible to be just like someone else.  Instead, adopt the qualities you like in others as you continue to learn and develop yourself.
  7. Believe in yourself and don’t give up. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
  8. Appreciate your life. We have been blessed with life. Live it to the fullest.
  9. Believe that if God is for you, no one can be against you (Romans 8:31).

Understand that self-love does not mean you are being selfish. It means you love and value yourself just as much as you do the ones you care for.  Focus on knowing you give your best when you are at your best. 

~Living It Out~

Breaking the thought pattern is only half the battle. You have to actually live it out. It’s one thing to know what is right but another to practice it on a frequent basis.  Take a look at some of these tangible ways you can adapt this to your daily life.

  1. Take yourself out on a date.
  2. Take a relaxing bath.
  3. Buy something you’ve always wanted.
  4. Read a good book.
  5. Watch your favorite movie.
  6. Practice Boundaries. (Read Boundaries by Henry Cloud)
  7. Meditate on God’s Word.
  8. Repeat in the mirror, “I am worthy, and I love myself.”
  9. Keep a gratitude journal.
  10. Try something new.

What are some of the ways you self-love?

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