“Love yourself”. Did you get a negative reaction inside yourself? Did the word “egotistical” come to mind?
I didn’t mean be self-centered, I meant: respect yourself, protect yourself, care for yourself. And do you know what? It’s OK!
The bible says to love yourself:
- Leviticus 19:18 (OLD Testament)
“Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself.
- Matthew 19:19
Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “
- Matthew 22:39
A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’
- Mark 12:31
The second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
- Luke 10:27
The man answered, ” `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
- Romans 13:9
For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting–and any other commandment–are all summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Galatians 5:14
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- James 2:8
Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s royal command found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Hurt people, who have had little or no love in their lives sometimes read the bible and see only the anger of God, or they see the self-depreciating language and then decide that it was God’s will that they were not loved and that somehow a God of love thinks it’s ok that they were disrespected in their lives.
I remember clearly when the truth fell “into” me and I suddenly understood that my parents were meant to love me – that was their role in my life. Because they didn’t fulfill their role properly DID NOT mean that God thinks it’s ok for me to go through life without love.
I cried, because I understood that so much of my self-awareness and awareness of God was flawed – I had discovered that He loves me and He wants the best for me… and that my past experiences were not what He had in mind for me. Nor for you!
Some people might think that we should love others and we should quietly disrespect ourselves. If we do this, what message would we send to the people around ourselves… that they should disrespect themselves? But I thought we were loving them and building them up?
How can we have love for them if we do not respect ourselves?
Do you know these sayings?
- If a child grows up in an environment of criticism, the child will learn to criticize.
- If a child grows up in an environment of hate, the child will learn to fight.
- If a child grows up in an environment of shame, the child will learn to feel guilty
If you are critical, if you’re ready to fight, if you always feel guilty… then those saying can give you an insight into what your home life might have been like.
But it’s not all lost. There is still time to grow and heal… these sayings might give you an insight into how to go forward in your life:
- If a child grows up in a praising environment, the child will learn to appreciate.
- If a child grows up in an encouraging environment, the child will learn to be confident.
- If a child grows up in an environment of understanding, the child will learn to be patient.
- If a child grows up in a just environment, the child will learn to be fair.
- If a child grows up in a secure environment, the child will learn to trust.
- If a child grows up in an approving environment, the child will develop self-esteem.
- If a child grows up in an environment of acceptance and friendship, the child will learn to find love in people.
If you already have those characteristics in your day to day life, then that’s wonderful. But for the rest of us, we can think about how to change our environment and then see ourselves change.
Is it too late? Are we too old? No. Inside of us we might actually be feeling and behaving like lost children – so it’s not too old to grow up into strong men and women of God who have kindness and trust and love to give to the people around us!
If we will love ourselves, if we create in our world a feeling of praising, encouraging, understanding, security, approval, acceptance and friendship – then it makes sense that as we grow up into our manhood or womanhood… then we will in turn become appreciative, confident, confident, fair, trust, we will have good self-esteem and we will be able to find love in the people around us and TO GIVE LOVE to the people around us.
So then, in order to love those around us, we must first love ourselves. In order to recover and heal, we must love ourselves.
This is the very first place you can begin to find love: yourself.
When you have begun to respect yourself, have good boundaries for yourself, when you get to know what you like and enjoy and DO those things – that’s when life get’s a whole lot easier… and that’s when you can turn to another hurting person and lead that person to heal and life.
If you want to read more, I recommend these posts as well
- Seeing the truth, accepting, forgiving and recovering
- God has a plan to prosper you… what to do while you wait
- What to do when you’re feeling empty inside
God bless you! I hope you leave a comment and share yourself, learn from others and grow.
Extra! (2 June 2010)
There is a wonderful debate in the comments section below. I love hearing from people when they share. Together we can develop a rich understanding of the bible by hearing each other’s point of view. So let me share another scripture with you which shows how you are meant to be treating yourself…
For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it… – Eph 5:29
ARE you nourishing and carefully protecting and cherishing your own flesh – your body? Paul absolutely expects you to be taking care of yourself. He says “no man” would hate himself.
And the reason we are to nourish our own bodies, is so that we (men) can love our wives.
Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church – Eph 28-29
The expectation that Paul has is that you ALREADY nourish yourself, and he wants you to nourish your wife. And the expectation in those 8 verses I quoted at the beginning of this article, is that you already love yourself (nourish, cherish, protect) and now God wants you to do the same for others.
But some people were not taught by their parents to nourish themselves. Perhaps they suffered abuse and no longer value themseves, perhaps some people hate themselves after that kind of experience.
No. God expects you to be “above only and not beneath” and the head and not the tail, and to love yourself and Paul expects you to nourish, cherish and protect yourself… and ALSO to do the same for others.
Remember the parable of the talents? If we use what we have received, He gives more. So AS you love yourself, go ahead and love others. A recent study shows a 40% decline in emphathy… what that means is that modern people have harder hearts than people living 20 years ago. So we have less to give.
But that is not God’s plan. Don’t use drugs, don’t go to churches where you feel controlled, don’t let people speak badly of you. Instead. Nourish yourself, cherish yourself, protect yourself… and then do the same for others.
God bless you on your journey to being the head and not the tail, to nourishing and protecting yourself! Hallelujah!
Keep on reading
Some Christians want God to snap His fingers and heal them and they refuse to get help. Is this the right approach? Maybe take a moment to read my post: Should Christians get counselling for healing?
For further reading maybe try this post Emotional healing… what’s it like? or read some of my other posts on healing. I have written a companion post that you might benefit from reading: How to fill up the lonely hurt inside. Get into the discussion. Share your experiences. Help someone. Receive help from someone too perhaps.