Over and over again I read the many different scriptures that command, “Love others as much as you love yourself”. There was a time in my life that I loved myself the way that others loved me, but it wasnt love they were giving me. Which means I never knew what it truly was to love myself. Did I possess a natural sin nature of selfishness, yes, but I had no understanding of what self-love was even about. I believed my worth was tied into people’s ideas and perception about me. If 5 people called me stupid, 3 people called me trash, and 7 called me ugly, then that is what I believed. No matter how hard I fought and tried to be the acceptable one, I would always fall short of everyone’s approval (except my molesters).
You would think becoming an adult would bring the wisdom I needed to discover this self-love and self-worth, but it didn’t. I had to study the Bible again and again, reading from cover to cover wasnt enough. I had to listen to people who could identify with my pain and offer me advice on how to begin the process. I needed to pick up as many books as I could and print out countless numbers of articles that were going to re-teach me. You see, I was either taught not to love myself because I wasn’t “enough” or not taught anything at all.
When I entered into my marriage I wasn’t aware of how much I didn’t love and accept myself. My husband loved me and wondered why I couldn’t love what he loved and he showed me how love was supposed to work! I was looking for him to fill me up so that I could feel his love and survive, but he needed me to love myself because he couldn’t fill the void I had from a young baby. He could not replace 27 years of emptiness, but God could.
Mark 12:31 says, “The second most important commandment says: `Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.” This means that God expects us to love ourselves. This scripture doesn’t even suggest that we love ourselves, it assumes that we ALREADY DO! But so many of us were not taught, so how do we even know that we are not loving ourselves? I will just list a few things that I know for myself because I have experienced it. Yours may be different or the same.
* When you need others to tell you, “You look good” to feel it
* If no one talks to you or calls you, you feel abandoned
* When you do a bunch of works to try to win people’s hearts
* When you are alone you feel sad and rush to be around someone else (in person or on the phone/computer/etc.)
* You don’t exercise and allow your body to be unhealthy
* You eat any and everything, and lots of it
* You jump to do things for others and NEVER take time for yourself
* You feel depressed because you don’t have a mate to complete you
* When others show their disappointment in you, you hate yourself for letting them down
* When ever you are rejected you always blame yourself
I am here to tell you, none of us were given everything, but we can’t continue to let that hold us back and we also can’t keep living our lives trying to fill what was never filled and replace what was once emptied. That is God’s job and He is PERFECT at it. Reading His word, and listening to His people are great ways to hear what He has to say to us. And when you accept Him into your heart, He uses His Holy Spirit to speak directly to you! This is a proven fact that many people agree upon and not an opinion.
My dad abandoned me after my mother died, and although my grandmother was there physically, she was emotionally dead. Her grief and pain drowned her and she could never surface to recover. I don’t know that type of pain so I can’t blame her. I truly feel as if my son were to die I’d be a nut case. How you over come two daughters dyeing in the same year is beyond my comprehension! I had many issues, and much distress. But when I realized that I wasnt supposed to be depressed and that I could love on myself and believe in myself, and give my own self compliments and pats on the back, I started to do so. And guess what… it felt even better than getting it from others!
So, as the Bible commands us countless times to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we need to hear it with a willingness. A willingness to discover that self-love and apply it so that we may carry out the next part, loving others.
TAKE CARE OF YOU, God expects it. (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39,Mark 12:31, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8)