I’ve been thinking about how the world views self-care for a while now. The topic was brought up in a Bible study I’m doing, and it really piqued my interest.
Have you noticed that almost anywhere you look there are signs, messages, and advertisements telling us to “love ourselves first” and offering to show us “ways (or how) to love ourselves more”?
These messages, to me, are not a right-out lie, but a distortion of the truth.
The real truth is that our worth is not bestowed on ourselves. It is impossible to experience God’s complete and total love simply by telling ourselves how lovable and worthy we are.
We also often hear “I’ve never loved myself…” or “She just doesn’t love herself enough…”
The truth of the matter is that we are born loving ourselves. It comes completely naturally. It is not something learned. We listen to our inner voice and take care of our bodies when needed. We are born children of Christ and in his image. He loves us, and we are precious to Him. In His love, we find love for ourselves. God does not tell us to love ourselves before we can love others. He asks that we listen, help, take care of, and pay attention to others in the way that comes naturally when doing those things for ourselves.
That being said, caring for others as we do ourselves does not come naturally. It is something we must consciously put effort into.
We do not have a low self-image, but a low view of God. We do not need to learn to love ourselves more, but to love God and others more in order to receive light, love, and blessings.
Think about it, maybe we are easily offended and hurt because we do love ourselves and not because we don’t. In fact, I’m sure of it! Nowadays, people take offense to anything and everything they don’t agree with it seems. This can be attributed to people being more self-involved and not putting God before themselves or treating others as they treat themselves.
God’s love will set us free from self-loathing and loneliness.
His light will shine within and out of us as we learn and practice loving others as we love ourselves; not by focusing on ourselves, but by focusing on His Word.
This is not to say we shouldn’t take care of ourselves, but take a look at what we are doing to take care of ourselves. Spending time in prayer and studying His word should be our main focus in self-love and self-care.
I do not mean to minimize or trivialize those who suffer low self-esteem, self-love, and self-image due to mental or verbal abuse or manipulation, which is a different story.
Ephesians 2:4 and 5