While searching for our purpose, we learned that our ultimate purpose in life is to love God wholeheartedly. From there, we are to love others with his compassion. Jesus specifically instructs us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” He understood the importance of self-love. So, I wondered-
How Do We Love Ourselves?
I recalled my granddaughters explaining how to walk on a balance beam and it seems similar. Loving ourselves is like walking a narrow path- it’s easy (and common) to fall off. How can we keep the correct balance in the world of selfies and social media? Our prideful human nature?
The “feel-good”, worldly version of loving ourselves tells us that we are basically good.
We should look inside ourselves and love/accept all our little flaws and personality quirks. You will be happy if you place your needs and desires first. That can, unfortunately, lead to being selfish, proud or judgmental.
Telling ourselves over and over how beautiful and wonderful we are is also a vicious circle. We gain a little weight, or have a bad hair day, or engage in some gossip and the negative thoughts come flooding in. “Oh no! I’m not beautiful/ kind /in shape!” We must talk ourselves into feeling better about ourselves. That only works until the next time the insecurities or negative thoughts return.
What Does the Bible Say About Self Love?
When Christians look inward, we realize that we are sinners. We know that we sin every day and we don’t like it. We may try to “be good” but it’s an impossible task.
Christian self love means admitting our guilt and flaws, and then confessing and surrendering them to Jesus.
Through Him, we can then see ourselves as fully redeemed and washed clean in his forgiveness. Our identity is in Him.
Self love and God
A right self-love attitude is dependent on God’s saving grace.
Acknowledging what He has done for us should fill us with a humble spirit. That will give us the correct balance of humility and confidence in loving ourselves.
Correct self-love includes accepting His great love for each one of us.
He loves us completely, flaws and all. Just like any good parent, he doesn’t want us to pick ourselves apart and become consumed with insecurities. How can we properly love others when we are full of guilt, self-doubt, or dissatisfaction? Likewise, he doesn’t want us on the other end of the spectrum with an inflated prideful ego. Pride is in us by nature. We have to work against it and not allow it to take root. Again, this is the delicate balance we seek.
My Bible commentary says that the word “love” in both the verses (“love the Lord your God” and “love your neighbor as yourself”) is the Greek “agape” love. This is not the brotherly love we have for friends. It’s also not emotional love. It’s an active and sacrificial love that was modeled for us by Jesus.
When we can truly take that in, we can then see others as God sees us- wholly and perfectly loved.
Understanding Self Love
This understanding of the importance of self-love is what gives us the compassion to love others as we love ourselves.
This verse kind of says it best: “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Who He is and what He does for us is what’s important- not who we are and what we do for Him.
The world will tell us we need to look or dress, speak and act a certain way, but God loves you as the unique, one-of-a-kind person he created. Think of these two verses with that thought in mind:
“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him.” Gal 1:15
“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 13913-14.
There’s a popular quote making the rounds that says, “How cool is that the same God, who created mountains and oceans, and galaxies, looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too?” It’s amazing but true!
God, Teach Me How to Love Myself
There’s another aspect of self-love that I’m going to include and that is caring for ourselves: physically, spiritually, and mentally.
• We should value our bodies as “a temple of the Holy Spirit” and take care of them. Basic self-care and exercise are normal and healthy.
•Time spent reading and studying his Word and in prayer keep us spiritually on track.
•God made us to have relationships and activities that bring us joy, and we need to nurture them.
Again, in all these areas, it’s all about the balance!
Accept His love. Focus on Him. Jesus says He came to give us “a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10) When we understand the importance of self-love and practice it correctly, we can enjoy the depth of His indescribable gift, and show his love to others.
2 thoughts on “Importance of Self Love”
Thanks, Ann! Pertinent subject in today’s world.
Thanks Cindy! It kinda bugs me to “promote” myself on social media…It seems so wrong! I liked learning this perspective!