Loving yourself is a subject that is foreign to most. Yet it doesn’t have to be when we understand the power of God’s love for us.
When we truly receive God’s love in our hearts, we step into the arena where loving ourselves is possible. The Bible reminds us that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Father God is the initiator of love. He broadcasts who He is as love to us, with an invitation to love Him back. The fruitfulness of our love relationship with God relies on our hearts receiving the love that is transmitted from heaven.
We Must First Learn to Receive Love
Loving ourselves is predicated on receiving the unending love that God has for us. We cannot love God until we have first received it from Him and allowed that love to permeate how we see ourselves. The love that God pours out empowers us to see ourselves through that love. Therefore, we can know we have plugged into God’s love when we are able to love ourselves properly.
But what does it actually mean to live in healthy self-love? So many are struggling with references on what loving yourself means, it’s time we begin to see the picture.
1. Loving yourself allows you to see yourself the way God sees you.
Love changes how we see everything, including how we see ourselves. When you love yourself, you are able to relate to yourself from a motivation of love in all words and actions. You are at peace to be yourself, because this is the environment that self-love creates.
Your pattern of living flows from a pure reflection of God’s love for you. You get a sense of how God sees you; therefore you live your life based on that perception.
2. Loving yourself involves unconditional acceptance.
There is no way to move forward with a healthy life without first accepting yourself in love, right where you are . . . no strings attached. Love comes in with an invitation for healthy relationship. Many people are trained to think, “I will love myself when . . .” Yet this is not loving. Loving yourself calls for self-acceptance unconditionally.
Loving yourself defines how you find acceptance in life, communicating you are accepted right where you are. It keeps you rooted in a sense of belonging that is not based on merit or performance. Whether you are surrounded by a crowd of affirming people or sitting quietly in solitude, self-love keeps you satisfied in the arms of God’s acceptance.
3. Loving yourself establishes your worth and value in a healthy way.
When you love yourself, it sets the tone for how you establish your worth in life. When you love yourself properly, you gain a healthy sense of value, based on the simplicity of being loved.
Loving yourself as God does grounds your worth in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gave of His life for you as a love gift. His death and resurrection gave you the opportunity to become Father God’s treasured child.
Loving yourself has nothing to do with your roles or achievement, but in simply accepting the invitation to be God’s kid. Performance cannot enhance the love a Father has for His child. So growing in self-love is founded upon the ability of a child learning to receive love.
4. Loving yourself is built on kindness and patience.
Based on 1 Corinthians 13, I believe patience and kindness are the main pillars of love. They make way for the rest of love’s power to manifest. Kindness is what love gives out. Patience is what love can handle.
Self-love manifests best when you engage the pillars of love, patience and kindness, towards yourself. Love is patient and is kind. Being immersed in self-love involves being patient and kind in all your thoughts and actions towards yourself.
5. Loving yourself is not based on your circumstances.
In fact, the more circumstances become challenging, the more you really need to love yourself. Otherwise anger, contempt, self-accusation and self-hate will scream in your thoughts all day long. Love silences the power of those voices.
With self-love, you are able to engage in the power of love, whether other people love you or not. Your self-esteem and identity are not hinged on every act of others. If they happen to extend love to you in an authentic way, it is a bonus to the love you already possess from God.
This does not imply that loving yourself ignores relationship. That’s not self-love. In fact, loving yourself enhances connection, because it releases you from many relationship hang-ups that are based on self-love’s absence.
When I love myself, hardships lose their power over me and relationships become less complicated.
6. Loving yourself cultivates a healthy acceptance of your flaws.
Self-love puts all our struggles and weaknesses into the right perspective. It even puts sin in the right perspective. Love doesn’t ignore sin, it covers it and creates an atmosphere whereby sin can be healed and eradicated powerfully.
When you love yourself, there is no need to obsess over those areas that many people hide every day. Instead, you can affirm who you are and be authentic. Love frees you to be yourself without shame, eliminating the fear of exposure and condemnation. Healthy self-love allows you to live accepted, safe and at peace in your own skin.
When you operate in healthy self-love, affirming what God says about you becomes a byproduct. Self-love says, “I choose to love what God loves. He loves me! So therefore, I love myself.”
7. Loving yourself has a lot to do with self-compassion.
When you learn to love yourself, you give what you would often extend to someone whom you love dearly, to yourself. Many people live kindly towards others, but never give that level of kindness to themselves. They may exercise patience with others, but rarely live in that dimension of patience when they look in the mirror. No people burn out in relationships. They’ve been living and giving from an empty tank.
Loving yourself satisfies the deep longing of your heart while establishing a powerful reservoir of compassion to pour out to others.
8. Loving yourself allows you to look in the mirror and like what you see.
This is by far the most challenging for so many and I can relate. For most of my life, looking at a picture of myself or catching a glance in the mirror we irritating experiences. No one taught me that seeing myself with kind eyes was incredibly important to my health and sanity.
When you do not love yourself, you become trained to see yourself with an altered perception that is negative. Your flaws become so magnified, you see things even those around you do not notice.
Yet one of the most powerful ways I can engage loving myself right away is to look in the mirror and intentionally look at myself with eyes that are kind and patient. If you are a believer, you carry the God of love inside you. Ask Him to give you eyes of love when you see yourself. So you can see you as He sees you.
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