To Love Ourselves

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12: 30-31a

It’s the part of the passage we too often gloss over “as you love yourself.” But do we really?

We speak to ourselves in negative ways. We tell ourselves we have failed. We aren’t smart. Others are better.

I remember in high school watching another girl assess herself in the girls’ room mirror. I thought she was beautiful. I wished I looked like her.

Then she stuck her tongue out at herself and walked out the door. 

That stunned me. How could she think herself ugly? Then I realized. She is just like me. She thinks of herself the way I think of myself. 

We were alike in our disdain for ourselves. Perhaps it has always been so. And perhaps more so among young women.

Yet today, it’s worse for young women who speak to themselves in that same negative voice as the girl in the mirror did.

As we did then, they compare themselves to airbrushed actresses, women on magazine covers, and other girls pondering their images in the mirror as their minds replay the negative echo of social media.

There is a solution. Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves requires us to love ourselves–to stop the negative talk–to affirm ourselves.

This affirmation is not an acquisition of pride–but of seeing ourselves as God sees us. We are people Christ came to die for. We are imago Dei–people of his image who walk in his way. 

Imperfectly. Awkwardly. Stumbling at times.

But in the beauty of God’s love, we can see ourselves as the unique creations we are. The girl in the mirror is not ugly. She is specially designed for a purpose–an important purpose.

She is here to love herself because she is who he made her to be. And in loving herself–showing regard for herself–she affirms the God-reflection she finds others.

Love God. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. 

And so fulfill all the commandments. 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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21 Replies to “To Love Ourselves”

  1. I love how you point out that loving ourselves does not mean pride. I grow so frustrated and sorrowful with all the talk about self-love in our culture because what is meant by that is praising ourselves and loving ourselves more than anything else on top of having a mindset that we deserve anything we want. But that’s not the self-love God commands of us. I love that you said loving ourselves means seeing ourselves the way God sees us!

  2. I think Satan loves that we skip that part. He can do so much damage with our self-deprecating down-talk. But I love how you point out that loving ourselves is about affirming our Creator. It’s not about us, it’s about the One who made us. We are His reflection. Made in His image. The people He loved enough to die for. I know I don’t like it when people speak ill of my loved ones, so I need to watch what I say about those God loves, including myself.

  3. Yes! This is powerful, Nancy. One time my husband and I went to marriage counseling. And as the counselor discussed our individual roles, he made a comment to my husband, then asked him a question. Since we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church, giving himself for her, and to love our neighbor as ourself. Do you love yourself?

    And your point about comparison, especially for girls and women, hits home to all of us. Because the Lord doesn’t compare any of His children with each other…why should we. We are uniquely created by the Creator!

  4. Perfect timing for this blog. Our women’s ministry team is holding a retreat this weekend on this very subject, having compassion for ourselves. So many women need to hear this message. God made us exactly as he needed us to be for His purpose.

  5. I heard someone comment on the radio the other day that you can only forgive someone as much as you’ve forgiven yourself. Reading this makes me wonder if you can only love your neighbor as much as you can love yourself. You dispensed so much wisdom in such a condensed post. I was crying by the end.

    Jesus, show us how to love. Show us what it means to love ourselves and others in a way that honors you.

  6. Dear Nancy!

    Your message here is essential for us. Many of us, Christians, are experts in being negative about the world, the outlook of the future, and believing in our own worth.

    As you say: “We speak to ourselves in negative ways. We tell ourselves we have failed. We aren’t smart. Others are better.”

    Unless we actively fight this tendency, we’ll join that choir.

    With love!
    Edna Davidsen

    1. I love your insight, Edna, that we are negative about the world. I let world events distress me much more than I should. We are, after all, people of faith. FAITH! Thanks for commenting. You give me much to ponder. God bless!

  7. This is a good topic, Nancy. We live in a self-focused culture and time. Where we used to have only mirrors now we take selfies. Where we used to have relationships now we have followers. But do we love ourselves? Some might argue we love ourselves too much, but I agree with you. Self-absorption is a symptom of self-hatred, a constant nagging suspicion that we’re not measuring up. This is not who God says we are. We are loved. We are whole. We are his. Good word today!

    1. This post was almost about how too much indulgence isn’t self-love. You’re right–it’s a form of self-hatred in that we are trying to fill a void–the emptiness of who we are because we don’t love ourselves as God’s imago Dei. Thanks for the encouraging words. God bless!

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