Over and over again I see fitness companies and social media influencers promote the idea of self-love. While I agree that it has positive aspects, including positive body-image and self-confidence, I began questioning the true source of self-love and how you find it. I am probably not the only one who has had points in life where I feel discouraged, depressed, anxious, and unloveable. It can be really hard to love yourself in the modern world with social media comparisons. To be honest it is really exhausting to search for self-love.
During this journey of self-love, I had been going to a therapist because I lacked “self-love” and realized it was affecting my marriage. I didn’t trust when my husband told me that he loved me for me, what he loved about me and that I was beautiful without makeup or when my hair is a mess after waking up in the morning. (Trust me, ladies, I do not look like Beyonce or the people in the movies that wake up perfectly manicured). I would take one argument more to heart than the love he was showing me every day. How could I trust that he thought I was worthy of love when, over the past 30 years, I believed the opposite?
I often caught myself talking negatively about myself and being ridden with guilt after overindulging or not working out. I had all of these negative “truths” stored up in my heart that it became a comfortable spot for me to sit in (sounds crazy, right?). I used that negativity as a way to justify myself or the actions that others had towards me. Sadly, the love and positivity I was receiving couldn’t make room. So when I read these articles about self-love or followed these influencers who preach it, the concept was hard for me to understand.
As mentioned above, this negativity was affecting my marriage, but it was also affecting my relationship with God. I didn’t truly believe or understand God’s Love. Or the fact that I am made in His image, one of worth, love, compassion, and capability.
Bible Verses about Loving Yourself
Many people think the “cure” for a poor self-image or low self-esteem is to love yourself more. The whole idea of self-love and as a matter of fact self-loathing is about yourSELF, which leads us astray from Jesus. He did not tell us to love ourselves first in order to love well. If you think that, you have missed the point of the Gospel message. God calls us to love in a self-sacrificial way.
The way to learn about God’s love and “loving yourself” is to turn to the Bible. Jesus wants us to know Him and His unconditional love. He wants to show us that He sacrificed everything to make you know you are loved and accepted. His dying on the cross was the greatest act of love. And no, you might not be worthy of it, but He chooses you anyway. He redeems the broken, the lost, the “unlovable.” As children of God, you are truly loved. In essence, loving yourself should be out of an appreciation for who God is and His unending grace.
1 Samuel 16:7: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, or man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
Ephesians 2:10: For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 5:29: For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church
1 Corinthians 16:14: Your every action must be done with love.
1 John 3:18: Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.
1 John 3:1: Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.
1 John 4:19: We love because He first loved us.
Dangers of Self-Love
The journey towards “self-love” can be dangerous. It is so easy to focus more and more on ourselves and how much we can accomplish in a lifetime. We think that this is how we will earn love in the eyes of others. Those things will never truly satisfy and will send you in a negative cycle of seeking love in all the wrong places. But God wants and desires something different for your life.
2 Timothy 3:1-2: But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
If loving yourself is not the answer to negative self-image or feelings of inferiority then what is? The answer is to understand the depths of God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. His love should come first in our hearts. When we understand God’s deep love for us, we don’t need to focus on loving ourselves. When we root ourselves in His love, we don’t try to seek it from others. We can rejoice and say “I am lovable” because He is love. He loves you with an everlasting love.
Love God, Love Yourself
Again, I am sure I am not the only one who has occasionally said “I hate myself” or “I hate my body.” Why can’t God have created me differently? Many of us are disgusted with ourselves. Some are even self-destructive. But Jesus doesn’t tell us to feel love for ourselves. We simply can’t with our prideful and self-centered nature. Self-love will never lead to true satisfaction or fulfillment. Jesus wants us to fully embrace God’s love for us so that we can see ourselves rightly in Him. God created us in His image, and that fact alone gives us great worth.
By spending time in the Word, God, being all good, He will reveal His truths to you. You are loved by God. You are chosen by Him. And you are redeemed by His Son. If we fill up on His truth, our cup of love will never run empty. And when He is within you, you will shine more brightly. You will be filled with an unconditional type of love that you will be able to pour out to others.
Self-love may have its place, but the most important thing is to make room for God’s love. His love drives out fear, shame, and worry. Only in God’s love can we find true satisfaction and joy.