To quote Ru Paul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell can you love anybody else?”
I’m going to be very real with you: it took me a long time to love myself but I did like myself a lot – I knew I was capable, smart, likeable but I just couldn’t swallow the fact I was loveable. No one was visibly loving me so I interpreted that as ‘there’s no reason to love yourself’.
Then I met Jesus and He told me that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Wonderfully made, fair enough, but fearfully? To me that implies that God made me in such awe and reverence that He stood back from His creation (me) and was fearful that anything of the world would tarnish or harm the perfection just created.
If we could just see ourselves for a second the way God sees us, we could have no choice but to adore ourselves, for we are placed a little lower than the angels and crowned in glory and honour (Hebrews 2:7).
It doesn’t matter if you think your nose is too big, your lips too small, your teeth too crooked, for we are heirs to the Kingdom. As soon as we set ourselves free from worldly expectations and a criteria of perfection, and accept God’s multi-faceted love, the journey of loving yourself can begin.
To me, loving yourself is part of being a Christian. By loving yourself you are honouring God because we are made in His image (Genesis 1:7), and if you firmly believe that God is a flawless, perfect being, you should apply the same thinking to yourself because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I titled this article “Can you accept love if you don’t love yourself?” and I hope it’s a question that challenges you. When someone’s good to you does it make you feel uncomfortable? Are you always looking for an ulterior motive to people’s actions? Do you feel unworthy of kindness? Do you feel unworthy of God’s kindness?
I hate to break it to you, but you’re never going to experience the fullness of God’s love until you put to bed your insecurities and make a conscious decision to listen to God’s voice instead of the negative ones in your head. I know that this is easier said than done, and there are times when I myself lapse into my old ways of thinking, and instead of looking at my reflection I’m self-critical. It’s at times like these you should turn to the bible and read for yourself what God thinks about you:
Matthew 10:30-31: “And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
1 Peter 4:10: “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.”
Romans 8:32: “Since he did not spare even his own son but gave up him for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?”
Loving yourself is a journey, and as with any journey there will be high and low points. Don’t get discouraged along the way, keep pressing on towards God and His truth, keep praying and keep believing.
Thank you, God, that we are the work of your hands (Isaiah 64:8), each crafted individually, wonderfully and in awe. For everyone who struggles to love themselves and has no idea of their worth, Lord open their eyes and help them see themselves through the lenses of the saviour. Thank you, God, that to you we are deeply loved children, capable of everything, heirs to the world. Empower us, challenge us and strengthen us. Amen.
By Rhesa Ojomoh