Over time, many can recognize they need to receive more love for themselves and take in the love that God has for them. Yet so many do not even know what this means or what it looks like. Because we lack models and references for this, we can struggle to even know how to move forward.
What does loving yourself look like? How can I practice it without getting into arrogance, selfishness or pride?
What in fact does it look like in your relationship to love yourself?
What about in your roles as a spouse, parent or worker? What does it look like to be a loved son or daughter who loves himself or herself in a healthy way?
Today we want to get into the nitty gritty aspects.
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What Does it Look Like to Love Yourself?
Mark: Do you have any opening thoughts about this subject, before I get into the first thought that I have?
Melissa: No. I think that even as you’re saying all of that stuff it just brings up actually the previous stuff that we talked about with Abby, when you were saying the cry of a woman’s heart is to be noticed.
I think that a lot of those beginning things, when you’re a child, begins to form … How do you see yourself? How do you love yourself? How is your parent loving you? All of that gets formed then, you know.
Do We Know What Love Is?
Mark: Right, because if you’re not loved properly, you don’t have a lens for what love looks like …
Mark: … what it feels like, how to connect to it, so therefore you don’t know how to activate it in your own heart
Mark: You don’t know how to give it to yourself when you need it most.
Melissa: Yeah. Or then in return, give love out.
Melissa: You know.
Mark: I think to reset even further, when we say the phrase loving yourself …
Mark: … I google it. I’ll google it. Sometimes I’ll google it and I’ll go into Google’s graphic section, for images, and I’ll put loving yourself.
There’s images of people, like in braggadocios things, or I’ll see an image that says, ‘it’s all about you’.
Melissa: Braggadocios. You’ve got to love it.
Mark: All these different imageries that portray selfishness, narcissism, self-consumed. I had to take a step back, no, we’re talking about loving yourself. Love. Love. Let’s reset what love is.
Those imageries of narcissism or selfishness. That’s not love. We’ve put the wrong word into the equation. I think this stumps people and makes it uncomfortable, because if you say, “Hey, church, we need to learn to love ourselves today.”, most people in there would go right to their religious mindset of like, “Eh, that doesn’t sound right.” Because, immediately there’s been a definition of it that has to be re-written.
Melissa: That’s true.
Mark: No. Love is not lust. It’s not about you cultivating lust. It’s not about you being self consumed. It’s not about you feeling sorry for yourself. It’s not you being self absorbed.
Love, if you really receive it, goes right out.
Mark: It flows out. We have to unclog the pipe that leads to your own heart for yourself, so that it can flow out. Because, if you don’t, then life becomes very inward. Then it does become selfish.
This is the thing. When we don’t love ourselves, then we become selfish.
Melissa: One hundred percent, right.
Mark: This is the problem, but when we tell people you need to love yourself, they think it’s selfish.
It’s like, we have to really redefine this, because love always looks outward, but I have to have something to look outward with. Okay?
Then there’s who don’t love themselves and they’re just always giving out. You always notice that when you try to love them, they’re always very deflective. “It wasn’t me, it was the Lord”, or “No, I’m good” or “You just …”.
It’s the Martha mentality.
Mary and Martha, where she’s busy, and Jesus is like, “Come over here. Mary is connecting with me relationally, Martha.” The Martha syndrome is huge, because it’s like …
I imagine in my mind, serving tables and serving food and the people going, “Hey, come and sit.” Moms are notorious for this. My mom does this, your mom does this.
Moms do this, where you kind of go, “Hey mom, come sit down.” “Oh I will. I will. I will.” Right?
It takes them forever just to sit down and relax. Nothing wrong with that. I’m not beating on that, but it’s that mentality that extends where, you’re ministering all the time. You’re helping all the time and you don’t have a grid that goes, I need to be filled.
I think the definition of love needs to be reset, so that we understand. I use first Corinthians thirteen as the model.
What does it mean to take each of those definitions; love is patient, love is kind, and apply them in my thoughts towards myself?
Boy. That’s a game changer right there.
In fact, I’ll write some articles and materials to flesh this out even more and more.
A Day When I Do Not Love Myself
I thought what we could do, is, as an exercise.
Share from a grass roots level, what does it look like when you don’t love yourself?
What is a day in the life of Missy D, when she doesn’t love herself?
Melissa: Well, to start it off, I don’t like to look at myself in the mirror. I can’t stand it. I see every single thing on my face, my skin, my cellulite. It is magnified a million times on my face.
So then, what it does, is it starts hitting my thoughts even more. You need to get to the gym. You are aging in a gross way. You are going to be gross when you’re fifty. It just starts pummeling me, pummeling me.
Then I start to just kind of … I can feel myself shutting down, because I start to go into this internal world in my head. Like, this is what really goes on. I get very internal and then I just get in a go mode, so I stay busy.
It’s like you were saying, I just start doing the things I would normally do, but in a kind of shut down way. Whether it’s getting the kids ready, doing those things. I just get internal, in my head and I’m just in go mode. Get it done. Get it done. Cause if I sit and let those things really take me on for size, which has happened at times, I freeze, or I get into a panic mode. It’s like I’m so overwhelmed by how I’m feeling and hating on myself. It’s just horrible.
Then, if I have to then interact with people, it’s a hundred times worse. When I’m interacting with somebody and I’m hating on myself, I’m not me. I’m not okay to talk. I’m not at peace. I talk a million miles a minuted. I’m doing self deprecating humor. I’m almost like an addict like, buh, buh, buh, buh, buh.
In a way, it’s almost, trying to get maybe someone’s approval of me. Or, are you okay with me? It’s like me trying to figure out, are you okay with me? Because I’m not really okay with me right now. I’m not thinking the whole time, “Are you okay with me? Do you love me?” I’m not thinking that consciously, but this is the manifestation.
A day in the life of me hating myself is not cute. Then it affects how I interact with other people.
Mark: Then at the end of all that, you’re angry with yourself …
Melissa: Totally angry at myself …
Melissa: Then it just goes more into, you really need to get to the gym, that didn’t go well. Then the enemy goes, “Well, when you were interacting with that person and then obsessive thoughts come in and they think you’re crazy.” You’re crazy. You’re this, You’re that, and it can go down a rabbit trail.
I know people, if you’re watching and listening, you get what I’m talking about.
It’s just, everything you’re touching feels yucky. You just want to go home. I don’t even think ‘Calgon take me away’ can help me anymore. That’s not even going to work. If I could get my twenty year old body back and pull it together.
It goes to the external. All my thoughts will go, you will feel better if you externally felt better about yourself. That rabbit trail will continue unless I stop and say, “Okay, what’s going on today.
Mark: Wow, that’s good.
Melissa: That was a long tangent.
Mark: No, perfect. It was really, really good.
Mark: I think that, if I was to express, well … If I was to express when I don’t love myself …
Mark: … I think I would express it in music. (music playing)
Mark: No, it’s definitely not that one. Let’s see, it’s probably more like … yeah.
Mark: Lots of hostility and clashing.
Melissa: Hostility. Okay, I get it. All right. I get it. I get it. Yeah.
Mark: I think, for a guy, when it’s … when I’m …
Melissa: Yes, so talk to me about the guy world. The guy world of hating yourself. Let’s talk this out.
Mark: Most guys don’t realize they have it.
Mark: It took me a long time to realize it.
Mark: I had a very big self-hate spirit that was influencing my thoughts, a lot.
Melissa: Right, right.
Mark: I didn’t realize … It took me layers and layers and layers of allowing God to just work, and you have to just be able to discern it.
I discerned it because, one of my biggest struggles was my mood.
Mark: Just waking up feeling like garbage. Waking up and going through the day and just feeling really down. Really, not having that optimum level. My state was just never the best. Up and down a lot. Pretty, you know … Some people would say kind of bi-polar or whatever.
Mark: Never got diagnosed with that, but probably if I’d gone and looked in to it, awareness of that was really, I feel at the earliest stages any way.
It was like that, a lot. Irritability, which would go then into for men, where it goes in to is we go to work.
Mark: It’s something you can focus on.
Mark: Don’t bother me.
Mark: I’m doing my job.
Mark: Any time relational interruptions are there, those kinds of things … It was an annoyance. Irritability. I’m very vulnerable to discouragement in that state. When I’m not loving myself.
Something discouraging comes. It’s like a domino of death. It just brings out the worst.
Whereas when I am loving myself, it’s like, all right, we’ll figure this out. It’s going to be all right.
I’m more inward and I’m more thinking about what’s going on in me. How am I feeling? What am I doing? What’s going on? I can tend to want to isolate or I have this deep need to be loved, so let’s get busy. For guys it’s get busy. Get driven. Then at then end of the day, you need a fix. It might be sexual. It might be drugs, alcohol. It might be …
Mark: TV. It might be sugar. Whatever it is. I find that, when I don’t love myself, I feel trapped inside and I can’t just be free to be me.
It’s probably … And we can hide behind performance and achievement, and guys just get really busy. The more the hate rises up, the busier you get and the more you fill your schedule.
This is a sign of it. When you’re by yourself, you don’t know what to do with yourself. You don’t know what … cause the buzz …
Melissa: That’s really good. Yeah.
Mark: The buzz of business has been used to overcompensate your self hate. Self hate drives you to do something to compensate for your lack of love, not loving yourself. You’ve got to do stuff. You’ve got to be busy. You’ve got to achieve. You’ve got to find something.
Some of the people with the biggest self hate issues can actually be some of the biggest achievers in the world.
Mark: They can accomplish great levels of wealth, income and “success”, because they’re so driven out of their pain. They’re not able to accept themselves. So it’s like, wow, look at what they’ve done! But yet …
Melissa: They can’t love themselves.
Mark: You can’t be friends with them, because they’re just awful to be around.
Learning to Love Myself
Mark: This was probably one of my biggest, I would say, the biggest battle of freedom over all for me. There’s a lot of areas we could touch on that I’ve had victory over. I’m so thankful for that. But, really loving myself has been one of the paramount issues.
Melissa: I would say too, one of the biggest misconceptions about you … even when we got together and before … people thought you were very arrogant. I did, anyway.
You had this way about you, and really, it was a self protecting thing.
Melissa: Right. Can you speak to that a little bit too, for people?
Mark: People that appear … I think that where you got that from was I appear distant and aloof. Where that comes from is just insecurity.
Melissa: Yeah, but people who .. cause most of us carry rejection. We perceive that, “Oh, he thinks he’s better than everybody.”
Mark: When we say that about people, we don’t really understand, “oh that guy is really just broken.”
Melissa: I think that the more that you have loved yourself and been okay in your own skin, you are so free to just be you and walk in a room and be …
Melissa: … self accepting.
Melissa: It’s … I think what you give off now is just completely night and day, to me.
Melissa: As you’ve loved yourself. You just carry, “I’m okay with me”.
Mark: Plus you were like, “I don’t know if he likes me, so …”
Melissa: Well, that’s a whole other story.
Mark: “I’m going to say he’s arrogant.”
Mark: I think that men have to really recognize, if we’re going to change how we do life, we have to address this issue.
Mark: If I’m going to address self-hate, I have to recognize it. But I also have to recognize, what does love mean, for me in my life? How do I feel loved? What do I do to gain love?
It has to be reset. I have to learn to be relationally connected …
Melissa: It’s so important.
Mark: … and learn to really acknowledge that, ‘hey, I need to make room for this, for this love issue in my life’.
A Day in the Life . . . When I Do Love Myself
Let’s turn the corner.
Mark: What does it look like when you do love yourself?
Melissa: When I do love myself, I give myself a lot of patience. I feel at peace, which is huge for me, cause I never really knew what that was my whole life. So for me, at this stage of my life, loving myself is me feeling a lot of peace and comfort within my own skin. To then have peace when I’m walking out and dealing with people.
The patience thing is huge for me, because I internally, really can self beat. Like, you’re not good enough. You’re not this. You’re not that.
When I’m loving myself, I give myself all kinds of grace, which is really what I need .. is, it’s going to be okay.
Melissa: The world isn’t ending.
Melissa: Tomorrow is a new day.
Melissa: It’s totally okay.
I feel more love flow out of me. I have more patience with people. I want to be like that every single day.
I’m not right now. I have my moments where I’m not. But, yeah.
What do you see, when you see that I love myself?
Mark: From you?
Mark: I see that you’re grounded in your approach. That you’re not looking for something to make you land.
Melissa: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Mark: That you’re able to go with the flow. You’re able to be relaxed in where ever everything is. Kids, stuff. It’s all right. Take the next step.
Melissa: There’s no rigidity
Melissa: I think too, when I don’t love myself, it keeps me distant from you. When I love myself, I’m more apt to put my hand on you, or be close to you.
Melissa: It’s easy for me to love.
I think if you’re struggling with that in your marriage at home, be mindful of your spouse and what they’re going through, or even within yourself, that you want things to change in your marriage and maybe it has to … you have to start within. You have to start with, ‘Well how do I love myself?”. Because, I’m loving …
I talked about this last week. We’re so hurt by broken relationships and things from the past. If you can look at that relationship and say, you know what, I loved them out of how I loved myself, or they loved me out of how they loved them self.
You can start to have a bigger grace and go, oh yeah, there’s some stuff that needs to be healed and worked on there.
Stability and Outlook
Mark: I think that I’m more … I’m way more stable. The two things I feel; my mood is way more stabilized. When I say mood, I mean like emotional state. You know …
Mark: More stable. God is good. Everything is going to be all right.
Mark: The second thing is that I’m looking outward. I’m just looking outward.
I have a clarity. Everything is just clear. There’s less clutter. There’s just not so many thoughts and so many things going on.
Mark: I feel like my mind is just open and there’s a lot less noise going on. Because that’s what love does. It calms. It’s nurtures.
Couple of quick questions for closing …
Loving Yourself as a Parent
Mark: What does it look like when you are loving yourself as a parent?
You mentioned this last week. You said we’d touch on it this week. What does it mean for you as a parent, when you love yourself
Melissa: Whew … I think … That’s a big one cause, you know … that’s something that I’m always constantly thinking about.
Those days that I don’t love myself, it affects how I parent our kids. It affects how quick I get irritated with them. You know, parents, as soon as you hit your head to that pillow, the devil brings up every little scenario that happened throughout the day so that you are riddled with guilt and you cannot fall asleep with peace.
Melissa: If you have a conscience and you are a moral person and you want to please God, you will …
If you are saying, “No, I don’t have any guilt.” Well, we’ll talk about that another time.
Melissa: But, most people who want to be a good parent, at the end of the day, you get barraged with all of those things that you didn’t do right throughout the day.
Melissa: You know, how you go to school in the morning. If I’m not loving myself properly in the morning and I’m dragging, or I’m this, or I’m that, then it affects how I get the kids going. How that all goes down. What it looks like. Then the whole day is thrown off.
The kids are affected by that. I can see when they’re looking in my … Even Max. Max, who we have to work extra hard just to get his attention. They get on edge and I can see all of that and I hate it. I hate it.
Mark: Right. They feel the atmosphere of what we carry.
Melissa: They totally do.
What about you? How do you feel like it affects …
Mark: I think, it leads in to what’s important. Being a good parent isn’t about being a good parent.
Mark: Being a good parent is just learning to be a son or daughter, in your case a daughter, in my case a son, and learn to be loved. Then they just receive out of that.
If I love myself, then I’m looking out how to help them. What’s the need, what’s going on? How can I …
Melissa: You’re thinking about them. Right.
Mark: Correct. That’s why this subject is so important and why we need to pay attention to it, because it is literally a game changer in how effective we’re going to be in what gets released out of us.
Melissa: I think … Going back to what you originally said, and I want to keep bringing it up again because it’s such a valid point … whether you’re young woman or a young man, you want to be seen. I think that goes for both. I know that we emphasize a lot on the woman, but the men are severely taken out in our nation.
Melissa: A boy wants to be seen. He wants to know he’s worthy. He wants to be taught that, you’re a good man, you’re a son. Given value. Given all those things.
Melissa: I think that, obviously when we look back at our childhoods, we can see that. Our parents were carrying the yuck of what they didn’t get, and so we received that. I think that’s a big thing that I would …
We work really hard to change in our generations, is really … how are we going to get healed, be made whole, really love ourselves so that we are paying attention and noticing and feeding them properly so that they can grow up to be healthy productive people in the world. Be life changers.
Loving Yourself at Work
How does it look for people at work, when they love themselves? What does it look like at their jobs?
Melissa: I think it speaks back to what you were saying. You’re thinking outside of yourself. If you have love flowing through you, you love yourself. You’re looking outward. You are then a representation of the kingdom and you are a servant. What can I do to make this place better, because I have value.
It was the biggest thing that we dealt with when we were at church. People didn’t show up … not because you’re lazy.. I mean yes, there’s laziness, but you didn’t see your value. Coming to church and saying, the body needs me here. I’m part of this and I have value. So people just don’t show up, and it happens at work. “Well I’m just here from nine to five. They don’t care if I’m here. They just want me to do …”
You’re not seeing the value of who you are. When you love yourself properly, you’re like, “I’m putting my pants on and I’m going because they need me today. What can I give and I’m of value to this place.”
Mark: That’s right. It’s not an arrogance.
Melissa: No, it’s not.
Mark: It’s a confidence.
Mark: People that have a lack of confidence, they see confident people as arrogant.
Melissa: Yeah. People who are crying, “I don’t have any good friends, I …”
What are you attracting? If you ain’t loving yourself, you ain’t going to attract the people that are go-getters either.
Melissa: You want to attract what you are. You are attracting what you’re giving off.
Loving Yourself in Friendships
Mark: Which leads me in to friendships.
Mark: If you don’t love yourself, the chances of you being a terrible friend are high. Because, you will not reach out …
Melissa: That was me for a long time.
Mark: You will not reach out, or you will make it all about what you’re getting and not getting from the person.
Melissa: I was … Go ahead.
Mark: You fall into the category of what I call, high maintenance relationships, which is, if it’s a high maintenance relationship, a lot of thinking and how is it going to come across, and did I say hi to them enough times, did I acknowledge them …
People who love themselves, well. You don’t have to have a lot of maintenance. You call or don’t call, they’re like, it’s all right man.
There’s just a level of them not being so contaminated and clogged with a lot of unnecessary offenses and rejection issues and stuff like that
Mark: It’s like, no, I’ve settled love in my heart for me, and if I get to love you, I’m going to love you at whatever level I can.
This is what it leads up to … relationships really change when you learn to just accept people where they’re at.
Melissa: So true.
Mark: This is just where they’re at. Family members, friends, loved ones. This is where they’re at. Because that’s what love does first. It creates an atmosphere of acceptance in where you’re at and the condition you’re at.
Then love provides an invitation for change. Whether people receive that or not, is their decision. But really accepting them. So even those of you that are going to be around family members at Thanksgiving or you’re going to be at gatherings … a lot of times it’s very critical to engage acceptance. This is just where they’re at right now.
It doesn’t mean we’re going to be best friends, or going to hang out all the time, or I’m going to be able to engage them at the level I’d want to, I’m going to accept them.
This is what happens. When you do that, then it leads to appreciating what they can be in your life and not be focuses on what they’re not or what they don’t offer.
That’s pretty much what messes up most relationship issues. We don’t have gratitude for what the person brought. They’re like, “well that guy, he hurt me, or …”
What good things did he bring in to your life? And it’s like, oh, well this and that. Then you focus on appreciation and because you’ve accepted that’s where they’re at and that’s what they can be for me in my life in my journey …
When you do that, literally it changes the game. It changes everything, and you’re less contaminated.