I Didn’t Like Myself
When I was younger, I didn’t like myself. Not only that, but I assumed others also didn’t like me either.
This wasn’t some sort of teenage angst; I felt this way well into my adult years. No matter how much my wife told me she loved me, I often felt it wasn’t completely true. If she rolled over the wrong way in bed, I would starting thinking she was shunning me.
Being a Christian didn’t help much. While the Bible told me of God’s love, I felt more in comfortable with the teaching that I was just a sinner and only by the grace of God I wasn’t sitting in God’s anger for me.
I felt I was someone to be corrected and changed. I felt that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t measure up to who God wanted me to be or to who people wanted to be around. I often felt hopeless and sad.
Of course I had times of feeling great, happy, and loved. I had the Holy Spirit, and He wanted me to know how God viewed me. But, when the enemy started to spread his lies, my heart was too receptive to them.
Is Loving Ourselves Necessary?
God tells us that we are to love others as we love ourselves. Is loving ourselves really a requirement to loving others?
Especially as I got older, I wanted to love others well. I knew what it felt like to not feel loved, and compassion motivated me to not want others to feel the same sadness.
However, by not loving myself I was limited in what I was able to do for others. If I tried to reach out, I would expect people would not receive anything from me. I would doubt I would have anything of value to give. Who was I to be listened to?
I was often given opportunities to teach. Looking back I can see value in the materials I prepared. But, when I would finish the study or talk, I would be completely drained, vulnerable, and desperately needing someone to encourage me.
Not Loving Myself Hindered My Christian Walk
I was blocked from giving freely to others because I was always looking for affirmation from them.
When Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, it is not get us to love ourselves less. We can’t really love ourselves more than God loves us, and we are to love those that He love. So, if He loves us abundantly, then we should do this as well.
If loving yourself is an area you would like to grow in, check out these books: The Missing Commandment: Love Yourself by Jerry and Denise Basel and Academy of Powerful Caregivers, a Prayer Coach resource.
Do You Love Those People God Loves?
We are to love everything God loves. This includes ourselves, and it includes others. He doesn’t love others more than us; He doesn’t love us more than others. His love is massive enough for all of us to enjoy.
How I came to love myself is a story for another article, but for now I want to express that if we love ourselves as God loves us, we are free to love others with the power of God. We are not trying to gain something from God or them. We love because we are loved.
As a Christian, you have to love yourself. God holds no bad thoughts about you. He doesn’t wish you were someone else. Once each of us fully realize this, then we can fully love other people.