Do You Love Yourself?

I’ve yet to address love of self in this series of difficult love questions for February. I’ve questioned why we love those that don’t love us back, asked what the role Jesus plays in my love life, and also wondered what to do when love leaves you. But I haven’t asked if you love you?

So do you? If you stood before your reflection at this moment and looked into your own eyes, could you say “You know what? I really love what I’m looking at right now”? If you can, please contact me. I’d like to hire you as my life coach.

No, more often our reflections glare back at us, don’t they? They ask why we haven’t done better, tried harder, been kinder, or more beautiful, why we haven’t achieved our ten-year plan, or a six-figure salary, and why we don’t have more friends or volunteer more. Our reflections can be so mean sometimes. They should give us a break every once in a while. Smile with satisfaction or reach out, pat our heads and say sincerely, “Job well done.” We need our reflection–what we pay closest attention to–to not hate us. To love us. At least a little.

But we American Christians find ourselves in the midst of opposite opinions: society’s and church’s. The American Way, or Dream, wants us to love ourselves most. The church wants us to love ourselves least. So I’m not sure what to do. I can’t love myself most, but I can’t hate myself either because I would get nothing done and would sink deeper and deeper into a wallowing mess.

A world full of wallowing messes is surely not what God intended. Nor is a world full of people who can’t stop staring at themselves.

Perhaps it’s not us we’re supposed to love, but what’s in us.

As David Crowder asks in his song Everything Glorious:

“You make everything glorious.

And I am yours.

So what does that make me?”

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13 thoughts on “Do You Love Yourself?

  1. I’m pretty sure that all of us are guilty of being self-absorbed sometimes. Loving ourselves is probably different from what most people think ‘love’ is. What came to me was: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

    I’m still learning all about this…but I think we need to try to look at others and ourselves as Jesus does, and stop hating what we once were. We are forgiven…

    Interesting post! I’m going to think about this all today (and probably all week, haha)

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  2. I think that’s the challenge: where is the balance between narcissism and self-hatred? It’s a precarious balance that’s often crossed in one way or another.

    I think a contibuting factor in the lack of self-love for Christians can stem from the lack of affirmation. I’m a part of a ministry that has the unwritten rule, “Build each other up in love as often as you tear each other down in teasing.” It never happens. Are we slow to affirm because we’re afraid create cocky people? Are we slow to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done because we’re afraid to be called arrogant? Where is the line?

    The David Crowder line is something that’s gotten stuck in my head (in a good way) repeatedly. It brings so much encouragement!

    Katie

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  3. I found a piece of paper a few months back inside one of my mom’s calendars I had kept. It said, “My illness taught me to be kinder to myself.”
    She died of cancer at 58.

    How many years of my life will I live beating myself up?

    The way I see it, I need to become someone I love or I need to love who I am becoming.

    Either way, I’m trying to heed my mom’s wisdom and be kinder to myself along the way.

    Great post Andrea!

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  4. i think there is a fine line in loving yourself too much/becoming egotistical and being confident. Love who you are and what you do, but don’t let it allow you to believe you are better than anyone. If you put God first, then you’ll always be humbled, because no one is better than Him.

    I do love myself. Not all the time, but most of the time.

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  5. I am probably the worst critic I know. Not intentionally judgmental, simply seeking the highest efficiency and near perfection. But I’ve begun doing the same to myself. I was diagnosed with a couple chronic illnesses over the past year, and now basically feel I’m non-efficient and completely imperfect. I struggle to love myself because who I am isn’t doing so well. And coincidentally, by struggling to love myself, I struggle to love others. Self-love is so hard to really pin down. I feel the only dangerous version of self-love is the kind that doesn’t build others up. Using your best qualities and attributes to love people better, that is true self-love.

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  6. I used to beat myself up for my sins and I began to really dislike, maybe even despise myself. Recently, God has taught me that His grace covers my sins and nothing I do can separate me from God’s love. Knowing that I need to “come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” has changed my life. Now when I sin, I try to repent and move on without dwelling on it. We can’t even begin to understand God’s love for us. So, I’m learning to accept myself and even love myself because Jesus loves me (and all of us) no matter what we do.

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  7. Jesus said:
    Mark 12:30-31
    “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.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

    If we don’t love ourselves then how will we love our neighbour?

    Such a freeing post, you reflect our Fathers tenderness so graciously. You have a wonderful gift.

    Thank you, God has changed my day because of you.

    Peace

    Gary

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  8. Those lyrics from David Crowder have made me well up with tears more times than I can remember….

    He did make us glorious… He loves us so much.

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  9. As I love myself and swim in the sea of God’s mercy, it is also wise to follow the leading of Paul in Romans 12:3–“For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement,in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each one of you.”. The ability to look at myself honestly keeps me from narcissism. The ability to stand what I see without drowning in despair takes Jesus. (I admit my bent in the past has leaned to the narcissistic rather than the humble)

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  10. Nice post Andrea! I’ve been truly blessed by all these difficult questions. If we can’t find the answers, at least it gets us thinking. So, that’s a step.

    Keep it up 🙂

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