For those that doubt that loving yourself is a noble virtue to obtain, I was there too!
Have you heard of the Golden Rule? Love your neighbor as yourself.
Let me point out the part I always ignored – as yourself.
If your brain is saying, we shouldn’t be selfish, like my brain did for years. Rest assured the definition of love has nothing to do with selfishness.
I believe that loving ourselves is inclusive with loving others.
I’m going to repeat that – loving ourselves is inclusive with loving others.
Let me share my favorite definition of love…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Now re-imagine that love defined for yourself. Let me take some liberty to re-craft it in my own words.
Love is patient and kind when I fail. It is content with the life and body I have. It doesn’t dishonor that body and life. I don’t get angry with myself and I don’t keep a record of my wrongs. Love does not delight in me doing things that are harmful, but is happy when I put truth at the center of my life. Love means I protect myself, trust myself, have hope in myself and means I persevere. Love does not let me be a failure.
Maybe that sounds over the top to you, but do you get the point? If we love ourselves, it looks a whole lot different than selfishness. It’s not only the positive things we do to love but the things we shouldn’t do.
Saying negative things to yourself about yourself is not love.
Saying negative things about yourself in front of other people is not love.
How would you truly feel if someone gave you a gift and then heard you talking about it in a negative way? Your life is a gift. Your body is a gift. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t let yourself talk about it any other way.
Our self-loathing will not build someone up. It only gives other people we love in our lives permission to be unhappy with themselves.
And what about the children in our lives? How we talk about ourselves in front of them will have a significant impact on how they talk to themselves.
No matter how much you speak your praise to them, your self-love or lack of it, will have a more significant impact on them than your words to them.
So let’s love others AND ourselves well.
P.S. I think if I had to put self-care somewhere into that definition of love, I would place it under the always protects. We wear ourselves out physically, mentally and spiritually without thought to how we should be protecting our bodies, minds and souls.
I’ve been horrible at this in different seasons of my life. And it doesn’t help me love others well. It actually made me more selfish because I didn’t have anything left to give others.
In what way do you need to love yourself better?