Now, I’ll be one to admit that I myself have a difficult time loving myself. Sometimes I seem to only do the bare minimum for myself so I can just get by in life. I want to talk about one of the most important things about life that you simply can’t live without. You have to love yourself. If you do, you will have the ability to love others.
I grew up making mistakes on a seemingly regular basis. I wasn’t a straight-A student in school, in fact my grades were all over the place with not a whole lot of consistency regarding any grade. I cheated in tests, lied about a variety of different things so that I can keep myself out of trouble (I wasn’t actually very good at lying in the first place, so I very rarely got away with it), and I picked fights with my brothers. Today, I wish I had been a better ‘big brother’ to my younger brothers when I still lived with my family. I wish I hadn’t lied and cheated and picked fights as often as I did. I also seemed to have a bad lack of motivation when it came to school, and would only get really motivated if something I enjoyed was taken away from me as a consequence until I stepped up my game.
We all make mistakes. That’s basic, common knowledge right there. I certainly made mistakes, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve all done things that we regret, and then we punish ourselves or remind ourselves what we did, which prevents us from going far or adventuring out of our comfort zone. We judge ourselves based on what we’ve done in the past.
A lot of us believe that we’re not worth loving, but God does. And if God believes that we’re worth loving, shouldn’t we? Your past doesn’t define who you are. We’re all human beings after all. Making mistakes is part of human nature. God doesn’t care about that though. He looks at the best in us and He loves us, flaws and all.
With that being said, if we don’t love ourselves for who we are, we’re simply incapable of loving others. We need to accept ourselves for who we are, and we need to fill our own basic needs. We need to have hope for ourselves, and pick ourselves up and push on after every mistake we make, because none of the mistakes we make are worth beating ourselves up over. We are loved by God, so doesn’t that give us reason enough to love ourselves?
When I don’t love myself like I should, I normally find myself not loving others the way I should or the way God expects me to. I can do nice things for people that would mean something to them, but it’s not out of genuine love for those people, it’s just a way to get appreciation or approval from others. Even though you’re doing something to serve someone else, your motive is self-serving. If we learn to love ourselves, we can have the joy that we need to serve others. Loving others and serving them can be a rewarding experience, if you love yourself first.
‘Loving others as you love yourself’ is the second greatest commandment from God according to Matthew 22:39. This commandment already assumes that you love yourself so you must love others too. This speaks powerfully that loving yourself comes first. How about this: If God found us worth loving enough to sacrifice His own Son, shouldn’t that give us reason enough to love ourselves?