"The Golden Rule"
We were all taught the "golden rule" in Kindergarten, "treat others the way you want to be treated." I personally take that biblically as, "love one another as I have loved you," in John 13:34, meaning that as Christians, the way we [should] love others is described in 1 Corinthians 4:7-13 (love is patient, kind...) So if this is how we love others, then this is also how we should love ourselves.
Why is loving ourselves important? Because we are God's children! He thinks we are incredible and it's not pleasing to him when others talk badly about us OR when we think or talk badly about ourselves. And NO, I am not talking about being "self-centered," but instead knowing your full worth and knowing that while no, you are not perfect, but that you are made perfect in Him.
Do you ever realize how hard we are on ourselves? I was talking to a friend about a boy she likes, and why he could never ever like her back, and the things she was saying about herself were awful!! She was focused on her insecurities and the things SHE saw wrong with herself. She was allowing these thoughts to control her confidence and self-worth, which resulted in her stopping herself before she even got started. She had already shot herself down without giving this boy a chance to like her back! That is crazy to me. JK I can totally relate. And I know a lot of you reading can too! So let's change the way we treat ourselves and think of ourselves, and start focusing on loving ourselves. I know, I know, A LOT easier said than done.
Why is this such a hard thing to do?
Because the battle between spiritual warfare is REAL and the enemy (the devil) is winning a little everyday when we treat ourselves poorly. The enemy's main goal is to make us think that we are not worthy. He tells us, "no one could ever love you, look at you!" He pokes our insecurities and weaknesses with a stick! How do we combat this? With love. God is love and he tells us to "love one another as I have loved you." (John 13:34-35) and that he loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)
Bottom line: love and appreciate yourself.
How? Let me give you two points to think about:
- Love is patient. (1 Corinthians 13:4-13) You're patient with those you love, so be patient with yourself. We must remember that nothing happens overnight so if you're trying to stop a sin, cussing for example, and you slip up once or twice a day, be patient! You're trying and God sees your heart and desire to quit. After all, if it were easy you wouldn't need Him! Same if you're trying to start something such as going to church. If you set that goal then only make it once this month, don't sweat it!! Spend time with God on your own and appreciate the fact that you made it to church one more time than you did last month! It takes time to break and form habits, so be patient.
- Love is kind. You are kind to your loved ones, so be kind to yourself. Have you ever come encounter with someone having a rough day? Whether a friend, coworker, or the person in line at the grocery store? You don't have to have a deep talk and have expert advice for someone having a bad day. All it takes is a smile, holding the door open, a compliment... any small gesture can brighten someone's day! So how can we be kind to ourselves? Write down what has damped your day or the things that are making you insecure, and then combat those things with God's Word.
How is this the same as opening a door for someone? When we are kind to others we are acting as Christ-- we are allowing someone else to receive the love of God-- we are bringing The Word to life. Therefore, reading The Lord's truths is how we are able to receive His love. (Since we cannot expect someone to pay it forward on every bad day ;) )
Lift others up (Song of Solomon 4:7) Lift yourself up (while staying humble ;) ) The first thing that comes to mind is self-image. We ALL have days where we feel frumpy and want to wear a bag over our heads to hide our "hideous faces," but instead of walking around all day thinking "my outfit is not working, my stomach jiggles when I walk, what in the world is my hair doing," try reminding yourself that you are ALWAYS clothed in strength and dignity, you are all together BEAUTIFUL, that there is NO FLAW in you, and that you are worth MORE than gold. When you think this way, positivity will radiate through your face and all people will see is how confident and comfortable you are with yourself. Can't think of something nice to tell yourself? Pretend your bestie is telling you how ugly she feels today, then tell yourself whatever you would tell her. (Proverbs 31:25, Psalm 19:10)
This one is probably going to be the most difficult because in my opinion lifting yourself up is more about self-image and positive thinking. The way we think and view ourselves is something that has been formed and practiced our entire lives- it's embedded into our thought process so much that it's become subliminal. The trick to stopping this is to become aware of those negative thoughts, stopping them, and recognizing that that thought is NOT from God. When all else fails I the MAIN thing that has helped me stop my self-loathing is Philippians 4:8, which tells us to “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” And to think ONLY about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. This means anytime Satan whispers a lie into your ear you are to ignore it.
I hope this helps or at least gets you thinking about ways to love yourself like you love others!!
P.S. I am SO SORRY about how terrible I have been about updating my posts!! My last post was LAST AUGUST. Please bear with me!!! :)