I read an interesting article the other day. It pointed out to love ourselves first, and then we will have the ability to love our neighbor as ourselves.[i] I feel this point is important when understood in a spiritual perspective.
If I see myself as the spiritual idea that God created – beautiful, useful, intelligent, filled with right ideas, creative, and shining – then I express that, and I’m able to see others that way.
On the contrary, if I’m not seeing myself spiritually, then I’m probably not going to see others spiritually as well. If I only love myself a little bit or some of the time, than I’m only going to love my neighbor a little bit or some of the time. We can see ourselves as the spiritual perfect man or woman that God created, and in that way we can be uplifted and help uplift others.
When we love ourselves as God’s child then we naturally bless and include others. We radiate God’s light. We see ourselves through the lens of Love, and we are able to see others in the same way. Giving becomes easier. We are more productive and appreciative. We feel more spontaneity, energy and enthusiasm.
Negative thoughts about yourself are draining. They take away our strength and lead to discouragement. They may be regret, inadequacy, unworthiness, fear of failure, or lack of confidence. On the other hand they may be self-righteousness or self-justification. The type of attitude that says, “I don’t care what anyone else feels; I’m going to do it anyway”; Or it may be criticizing others so that we feel better. This isn’t loving ourselves as God made us either.
We are each the beloved child of God. God knows us as spiritual and perfect, eternally abiding in His kingdom. “In Him we live and move and have our being”.[ii] Therefore we can never be apart from God or leave His side. No mistake or accident from the past can taint us today. We are “new-born”[iii] each day, and we can always “put on the new man”[iv].
I had the privilege of attending a Christian marriage seminar shortly after I was married. Wonderful ideas were shared including this one that I like: we are 100% responsible for how we feel. This takes pressure off your spouse or anyone else to be the one to please or make you happy. And it takes pressure off of you to look for someone to make you feel good.
When we are responsible for how we feel, we are much nicer to be around and easier to get along with. We don’t have to look to someone else for approval or satisfaction; we can look to God to know we are taking the right step and walking the right way. We can check with God before we do or say anything. And we know we are already loved. I like revising the well-known Bible statement that says, “We love him, because he first loved us”[v] to say ‘we love ourselves, because God first loved us’.
Loving yourself is being obedient to God. God made you and created you. Loving yourself is acknowledging God’s wonderful creation. It isn’t selfish at all. And we are more valuable to Him when we see who we are as He/She created us to be – perfect and eternal in His/Her own spiritual image and likeness.
So let’s love ourselves today, and in that way we will truly be able to love others.
[i] Christian Science Sentinel, “A Promise of Progress”, T. Michael Fish, July 5, 2010
[ii] Holy Bible, King James Version, Acts 17:28
[iii] Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 35
[iv] Holy Bible, King James Version, Eph 4:24, Col 3:10
[v] Holy Bible, King James Version, I John 4:19