Has anyone ever asked you the question, “Do you love yourself?” Most people don’t have a memory of this.
If I asked you this right now, what would your unfiltered response be? Some would not know what to say. Others would give some kind of cliche answer. I really think many people have not even seen the need to address this issue. But I believe that is all changing.
God designed you to love and be loved. We give out of the love we have received, but what does that look like?
What is your perspective on loving yourself? Odds are it was never discussed with you growing up, or loving yourself was seen as arrogant, lacking humility.
Yet the majority of people on this planet has some kind of struggle in their life that leads a trail back to the fact that they do not love themselves in a more full way. It domino’s into every area of our life.
So on this episode and more to come, we want to hit on what it means to truly love yourself the way that God loves you.
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Do You Love Yourself?
Mark: I just remember this moment because I remember the pastor saying this and I go, “I don’t know. Something didn’t hit me right,” and I put on the shelf and didn’t think about it for another 20 years. He talked about loving your neighbor as yourself. He’s like, “We all know how to love ourselves, that’s not the problem. We love ourselves perfectly,” or something like that or like, “We do that really well, we just don’t know how to love other people.” I was like, “Something seems really wrong about that statement.” What he was saying is that we’re all very selfish, we’re all very self-consumed. In his mind, loving yourself went that direction and that’s I think the problem is I think that we’ve been conditioned. My conditioning growing up …
Melissa: That’s good, yeah, it’s true.
Mark: Was loving yourself, those two words together was a selfish thing. It was depicted as somebody who is like super drawing a lot of attention to themselves or just very, very selfish. I’ve even had, one of our listeners asked me, he said, “Hey, you know I’ve been trying to share this with my friends and they are giving me kickback with like the scriptures warn of at the end, last days people will be lovers of themselves. I had to explain that that term lovers of themselves, lovers is an English word added on. If you look into the original language it’s not love like agape love or even phileo or any of the Greek words for love are not used there. It’s a word of self-consumed selfishness, the English translators they are just doing the best they can, translated as lovers of themselves. It has caused us to move so far away from the issue.
Melissa: It’s true, yeah.
Mark: That we don’t see it so I think, I still feel it when I interact with people that you drop this line. That’s why I put it in the title, I love myself and I even put it in the sub title, loving yourself. Drop that on people and there’s just uncomfortability that rises up. I think that going back to our childhood, I saw loving yourself as arrogance. Now, that’s my religious upbringing influencing that, see it as a lack of humility. The examples I saw were people who really, really push themselves down in the name of, “I want to be humble so that Jesus, God will be shown through me.” Looking back I see most of it, their hearts were good but manifesting like a self-deprecating a self-contempt for who they are that now I look and I go, “No wonder loving themselves is so difficult,” so they can’t land. Now we get into present day and you start to understand being safe in your own skin. You look back. Okay, let me ask you this question.
Mark: As a child growing up, what kind of difference would it have made if the subject was brought to your attention and nurtured?
Melissa: Do you have five hours?
Mark: Hit me.
Melissa: Okay, for me I think it would have been confidence in everything. Confidence, I brought this up many times on the show, to know yes and no. To know what I even liked, to know I didn’t have to be afraid of people or things. If I had loved myself I feel like this is it, this would have changed everything in my life. I would have been confident in playing sports. I would have been, “Yeah, I can do that,” or, “No, I don’t want to do that.” That ability as a kid to just yes and no and, “No that no I don’t want to do that, no I don’t want to go with you, no I don’t want to do that.” That would have been because it would have been self-confidence because I loved myself, “Oh my gosh.”
Mark: Confidence is …
Melissa: My whole life would have been different.
Mark: You hit a word that’s big, confidence. In a relationship if you love yourself there’s a great confidence you bring to the table because you’re not relying on the person to love you to land safely. You come to the table confidently. I think it’s great even in our relationship with God because God he loved us first, the Bible says, we got to receive his love to whole other subject but what he’s looking for is a confident reception of his love that’s where our faith comes in. It’s like, no, he loves me and what does that do? When we talk to God we talk out of son-ship not slavery. We talk out of a confident place that’s like, “No, God, this is why I know that you are, this is why I know …”
He responds to that because you’re lining up with the frequency of heaven of son-ship because he’s not talking in the communication of slavery. He’s not talking to us as that. We talk to him as that but confidence is huge and I think that is it one of the things that we lack coming out of slavery ridden environment of spiritual slavery of not seeing a true son-ship is that we lack confidence that go into a social setting. Let’s say you go to a social setting where people are totally different than you like totally different and you stick out like a sore thumb, right? When you love yourself it doesn’t matter. You embrace the difference.
Melissa: I envy those people.
Mark: If you’re in a room of people that you feel are smarter than you.
Melissa: Professors or whatever, right.
Mark: Whatever or you walked into a room of a boat makers club and you don’t know anything about boat making. I’m getting very, very practical because people get immediately intimidated, we get really intimidated around others. It’s because we don’t really value who we are. That’s like, I don’t have to be like that person. All these insecurities that we fall into go back to I need to have a daily habit and mindset of loving myself the way God loves me. I really believe we have a relationship with ourselves, okay?
Is Your Self-Talk Loving?
Mark: That might sound fruity to some people, it just it is. You’re talking to yourself all day. You have 60 to 90,000 thoughts somewhere in there that they say that you have. Let’s say that 80, 90% of them are negative so you’re sitting there and most of that is not the thoughts are not all spoken. Right? We know that. It’s self-talk, it’s noise going on in your system. What is it? It’s your conversation with your inner dialog forming what you believe, how you perceive things and let’s be honest, the majority of it is, “Oh it’s Friday, I’m tired.”
It’s all these angst, these content kind of mindsets. I like that word content. I don’t like what it means but I like using it to help describe because content has a sense of looking down on something with disgust. Right? We do that a lot with ourselves where you get up and you’re too fat or you’re too tired or you’re too this or things aren’t working out for you. You’re irritable. Irritability comes out of lack of self-love. Crankiness is lack of self-love. Not being able to smile and enjoy yourself is lack of self-love.
Melissa: It is.
Mark: One thought and I want to shoot it back over to you is that one of the things that I’m still to this day unwinding is that I take life and myself very seriously coming out of not loving myself.
Loss of Enjoyment
Melissa: Yeah, because I was going to ask you that. The same question that went to me, what would it look like for you if you had really loved yourself?
Mark: I would have had a lot more fun. I would have enjoyed …
Melissa: Such a good answer, so true, Mark.
Mark: Yeah, because life isn’t meant to be …
Melissa: So true.
Mark: Life isn’t meant to be easy but it is meant to be joyous and enjoyed. I could never land in a moment and enjoy it.
Melissa: It’s so true.
Mark: I was always, my childhood memory I can cry just thinking of this.
Melissa: I know. That’s so good.
Mark: My childhood memory …
Melissa: We could talk about this for the next hour.
Mark: All I remember growing up is thinking and worrying about the next thing coming up that I couldn’t handle that I didn’t feel like I was equipped to handle it. It might be I have to give a speech in speech class and I would just be up and tossing and turning and preparing. It might be a test I have to take. It might be I would be tormented about sports practices that we had because …
Melissa: So true.
Mark: I physically, growing up as a kid I didn’t have the athletic body that easily could run for miles. I had to work harder than everyone around me to just do some of the basics of athletic stuff. Even to this day I have to really push myself to work harder than other people, like, “Yeah, I went out and ran a mile.” I’m like, “For me I’d be like, I ran a mile,” through the whole thing. In that process I just was had such a bad view of myself. If I learned to love myself it would have A, not had me so consumed with all the worries and fears and obsessions and stuff. B, it wouldn’t have put this pressure to have to be something in those situations it would cost me to enjoy. I played basketball all throughout high school and I was smart, I was a smart basketball player. I was decent. I couldn’t fully enjoy it because it was all about the pressure and looking back if I want to go back I would have enjoyed it. I would have had fun.
Melissa: I know, that’s so true.
Mark: I spent and actually this is part of my fatigue because I don’t know if you have this, I would have memories of just being tired. Right?
Melissa: That’s so true.
Mark: A lot of my fatigue is just coming out of energy wasted and anxiety. Energy wasted in worry.
Melissa: I was just going to say that, the thoughts. Right.
Mark: When the energy of anxiety is not being wasted, you have so much more energy to enjoy it and I would have been able to turn the tables and looked at playing ball. I had opportunities to play, I was a starting player. It was the smallest school, I’m not trying to brag but it’s an opportunity to play and I never have to sit on the bench. If I was in other schools I probably would have sat at the bench the whole high school. I get to start. I get to play. I learned. We traveled around. I’d just be stressed the whole time and it’s like, “Man, how many people are missing out on that?” Because they don’t really know to love themselves because it just sets the pace for enjoyment. I’m here, I’m going to enjoy and extract the fun in this versus thinking about all the things I need to worry about.
Melissa: Right, that is so good.
Mark: It would change everything. I’m going to go back in time.
Melissa: I know, right?
Mark: I think that that’s something that I’m instilling in my kids is I want to keep an eye on them in how they put pressure on themselves. I want to train them to put pressure in the correct things, in the sense of I would rather have them put pressure on being aware of those thoughts that do not serve them. Being aware of things that come against them. I want Abby, I want Max in their weaknesses, in their flaws to learn what it means to access the safety of love in a situation. The thing I’m learning already is that I can’t rescue them from pain and I can’t rescue them from every battle they are going to face but I can instill in them that because I felt like I starved in the silence of torment and didn’t have the language to even express, “Hey, I’m struggling with this.” I would try and people would be like, “Don’t worry about it.” The response people give, “Don’t worry about it,” you’re like, “Okay.” When people would say that I would go further.
Melissa: Like something’s wrong with you.
Loving Myself in Hard Times
Mark: I’d go further into, yes, because something’s wrong with me. I think that really coming to peace with loving myself came to a bunch of different layers but really in the past five years God has really focused on this subject because you and I have taken risks with us and our family that we wouldn’t even recommend that other people take. Financially, career wise.
Melissa: Don’t do it, people.
Mark: We’d gone for it.
Melissa: Don’t do it.
Mark: We’ve hit a lot of seasons where it just got so hard and so painfully hard whether it was things we’re facing with Max or just trying to find financial provision or just certain relational things that we had to work through with people. Just stuff that’s all become a part of our process and journey. In it, I tell this in my promo video crying out to God, praying God, praying from son-ship not praying from slavery but just really cry out to him but getting exhausted and getting to a place of , “What is going on God?” The only thing I could sense back is this sense of you need to learn how to love yourself. You are really, really not loving yourself in this time.
In my mind I was like, “I get that but what about the situations? About the stuff that’s going on.” To be honest, I went online during that time I began to research and look online a subject. I typed in, loving yourself and I’m not finding anything. I think I saw one book that was written on it. I can’t remember the name of it. I didn’t read it but I was dumbfounded. That’s when I began to really come before God in the subject and this whole world started to open up in my heart about what we’ve really been missing. When Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself and where Paul says a man who loves his wife loves himself in Ephesians and we’re really seeing where the enemy has stolen this subject from us.
People Living Out of their Lack of Loving Themselves
Melissa: I think too. If I could just interrupt you for a second because I think that this statement is something that we all need to think about is that a lot of our relationship experience is all that is also people loving you how they are loving themselves. Right?
Mark: That’s right.
Melissa: When you get illuminated to that, right? Because that’s like going deep so when you’re in relationships and you’re like, “What is going on? This isn’t landing,” yes there’s rejection and all that’s coming out of how they see themselves and how they love themselves. That’s really huge. That’s a part that we’ve had to heal in. What does that looks like as we’ve loved others and as people have loved us as they’ve loved them? Because that’s what you’re doing. Okay? That’s what you’re doing, you’re giving out what you have and how you see yourself. That one is like huge.
Mark: I think it will help in people who’ve hurt us in the past is recognizing they loved you out of how they saw themselves.
Mark: If you’ve been abused.
Melissa: It’s freeing too. Right? Isn’t it freeing?
Mark: Yeah, if you’ve been abused or you’ve been yelled at or you’ve been under circumstances that were harmful or you’ve been under controlling Jezebelic people or whatever it is, whatever you want to call it, is there is a dimension where they did not love themselves and they put that on you, they put their shame and their guilt and their pain and condemnation they just poured it out on you. I’m a way better husband because of loving myself. I’m a way better father loving myself like light years, stratosphere.
Melissa: Right, you can feel it through each kind of wave that you go through because no one lands perfectly in all these and we are not the perfect parents at all. We’re still growing and learning and going, “Oh, boy.”
Mark: Perfection is way far away in that area.
Catching Our Lack of Self-Love Habits
Melissa: Yeah, but you can feel it as you begin to gain ground that’s where you start to feel it like yes you feel it in yourself and how you’re treating yourself but when your spouse and your kids are like the biggest thermometer for that like, “All right, how am I doing? How am I doing?” How are you able to interact without going into anger? Shut down all of those things really it’s really reflection of what’s going on inside of you. I think as we’ve come through those things it’s like, “Hey, I’m doing better. I can have more fun. Hey, I can access that better. I can just chill out if milk is spilled,” or, “I’m not chilling out when milk is spilled.” You have been I love to always celebrate who you are as a husband and a father because you’ve been on such an amazing journey with that. You’re such a blessing to us but one thing that you always redirect me back to, always, you’re not being good to yourself, you’re not being kind to yourself. You need to love yourself.
Mark: This is being stated publicly.
Melissa: This is.
Mark: It’s true.
Melissa: Do we need to pause and light a candle? Yeah, you do. You always redirect me back to that. Always. I think that’s important especially in marriage like yes it’s important to go, “Hey, honey you’re being too hard,” or, “You’re doing this,” or, “You’re doing that.” Obviously, we’re each other’s holy spirit in a lot of ways for those things but there is that place of encouraging and that’s one thing that you don’t shame me in that, “Hey, you need to love yourself. You need to be more kind.” It just gives me that gentle safe reminder, “Yeah, you know what? Thanks.”
Mark: Yeah, it’s good.
Mark: We need to be reminders to all our friendships of like, “Hey,” we hold people accountable in certain things but do we hold each other accountable to, “Hey, that’s really mean to yourself. That’s not kind. You really need to love yourself in a better way.” Because what it did was and I talk about this in the book, there’s two big things that loving myself does. One is it settles my life and where I’m at, the good, the bad, the ugly and helps me to come to rest, right? It doesn’t just end there because love accepts you but love changes you.
Melissa: So good.
Make Decisions Out of Loving Yourself
Mark: Because it brings out the health that is available so out of that, the second thing is then being able to make decisions based on loving myself. It’s like even the simplest of things from caring for my body, making sure I get enough sleep, eating well. I mean, most people don’t eat well. It’s a lack of self-love. It’s like whatever, I’m busy, I’ll just wear whatever clothes, I’m going to let myself go. I got to take care of the kids. I’m going to do a whole episode on moms because you get lost in being a mom and dads can get lost in their work and we lose the value of ourselves and what it means to walk that out.
Melissa: It’s so true.
Mark: We even think of paying any attention to daily caring for our heart and making sure we’re nurturing it with God and nurturing it with ourselves and others. It is like a, “Waste of time, I got things to do.”
Melissa: I think too, there’s been things that I’ve had to go through where the target will come back, “You’re being lazy about that. You’re not doing that because you’re being lazy.” I’ve had to stop and say, “Really, I’m not loving myself.” If I feel my body out of balance, taking the time to either go to the doctor and say, “Hey, this is what’s happening. What do I need to do? I need some vitamins. Do I need to take in more …” Whatever that looks like that’s loving yourself. Being in tune to what your body needs, feeling good when you wake up, all that stuff is loving yourself.
Mark: Correct. That’s what changes the game for me and my nutrition changes, even my exercise, everything. It’s an act of self-love. Food should never be a punishment. Food should never be something to try to heal a wound, it’s for nutrition but loving yourself in a way that you put the best fuel and then loving yourself and that, “You know I need to be active because of what it does for me, what it strengthens in me.”