How Do You Love Yourself Best? Here is How.
Have you ever thought about it? I mean, do you think you love yourself? And is that the best way you can do it? By the way, what does it mean to love yourself?
Few people have ever asked such questions though almost all of us have ever asked questions like; does she love me? By the way, do I love this one or the other one? Yeah, you know we have ever.
Are you surprised that you have never or have rarely asked if you loved yourself best? No, you should not be. Why? Because you are not alone, and this (you not being alone in the boat) should not comfort you but scare you! How come none or few ever considered self love so useful? Remember this;
You Are Not Alone' are not comforting words. Read that article too.
Today, let us share something very important in our social, spiritual, and emotional responsibility of Love; self-love. The fact is you really love yourself, there is no doubt about that. But the question is; do you love yourself best?
Well, you no longer have to worry about that or even what it means to love yourself, I am bringing it all to you now in this beautiful and great article.
First, do you love yourself? What is self-love? And how can you love yourself best?
Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" (Matthew 22:39). In this verse, Jesus is not asking us to love ourselves (for we already love ourselves) but instead is asking us to extend that love to others. In other words, you love yourself already. But make no mistake, Jesus knows we don't even know how to love ourselves!
According to Jesus in that book, we have 3 duties while practicing love; Loving God, ourselves and then our neighbors. By the way, some days ago, we wrote a good article on Understanding Where or Who To Begin With While Loving! . Read that.
In the above article that we wrote, we highlighted that God is the founder of Love for He is love. He then extended or extends that Love to us. When we get loved by God, we respond by loving Him back. And He then teaches us how to love ourselves. And then we are able to extend that love to others.
Does it mean we don't know how to love ourselves until God teaches us?
Oh yes! We have already answered ourselves by saying that God teaches us how to love ourselves, but there are many questions; How about those who don't believe in God? If God teaches us, what does He teach us? is loving ourselves that easy? No, read on.
What proves that you love yourself already? You care about yourself.
But what is self love?First definition
As we earlier highlighted, self love is simply self care. In other words, we love ourselves when we wish ourselves best and make efforts to make such wishes come true. And when they do come true, we are happy and joyful.
We all have desires and, as highlighted in our other desire-related articles, our desires define us and make us live in pursue of them. To have no desires means death for it simply means our lives have no motivation to go on. In other words, for every living person, we have our heart's desires and things that we value most. I hope you are aware that our desires go beyond the common desires of money, sex, and power.
Read this: Our sin is not our desire, but our weak desire
Taking care of our wishes (desires or values) and our happiness.
Our happiness is directly proportional to how far we have gone by becoming or achieving that which we desire. For example, if my desire is to become knowledgeable in theology, then my happiness shall be when I really achieve such knowledge. If my desire is to buy a car, then I will certainly feel happy if I do buy the car.
To love myself in this case is to give time, efforts and all resources that I know to nothing else but to achieving those values or desires that mean a lot to me. Isn't that what we call taking care of yourself?
And for God's sake, each one of us is born with this. Yes, each one cares about his or her happiness through pursuing that which seem valuable and desirable to himself (That must be what Jesus cited when He said we need to extend that self love to our neighbors). Listen to Blaise Pascal's words;
"All men seek happiness without exception. They all aim at this goal however different the means they use to attain it. What makes those go to war and those bide at home is the same desire which both classes cherish, though the point of view varies. The will never makes the smallest move but with this as its goal. It is the motive of all actions of all men, even of those who contemplate suicide" (250th Pensee).
Blaise Pascal (The French 17th century philosopher and mathematician) brings us to the need of learning how to love ourselves best.
How does he do that?
If even those who contemplate suicide, go to war or avoid it, murder others or torture them are all seeking happiness in their own way, then we have various versions of happiness. And is it possible to give it a standard measure? We will come back to this, but let us see the second definition of self love.
The Second definitionSometimes, self love is seen as our efforts and abilities to appreciate the persons we have become. When someone says, 'oh boy, you need to love yourself. You look good', he is saying that you need to appreciate your physical height, body, face and all that you are. In simple terms, you are appreciating the person that you have become.
While some other writers like John Piper emphasize that this makes self love fall into two distinct categories, I like joining these two definitions and making one sense.
Let us try it.
In the first place, self love was taking of yourself which meant doing all you can to achieve that which you desire or see valuable and of meaning to your life (Your happiness or sadness will be due to achieving or failing to achieve your desires or wishes respectively).
And in the second case, self love is about appreciating the person you are. In other words, whether you achieved all, part, or none of what seemed valuable to you, you still stand in front of the mirror and say, "all is well, I am happy for the person I have become"
Joining the two
We all have desires; things that we count valuable and we pursue them the best way we can (self love) and we need to accept the persons we become after the pursue (self love). If you have desires and then achieve or fail to achieve them, you end up appreciating or not appreciating yourself respectively. In other words, you cannot have self love in the first sense and not have self love in the second sense. If one (the first sense) fails, then the other form (second sense) fails too.
Let us take an example, if I value smartness and being punctual but fail to pursue such values, then I end up not happy with the person I have become. If also I have such values, pursue them and achieve them, but then still don't appreciate the person I have become, self love has died again. What am I saying?
I am saying that there cannot be two forms of self love giving us the chance of failing at one and succeeding at the other or even failing or succeeding at both. Self love is an entity and has what it takes or its parts and when they are met, it has come to pass. And when they (parts that define it) are failed, self love is nowhere. Period!
Can someone not love himself?
Yes, not in the first sense (each one of us cares for himself by pursuing his happiness in his own way), but in the second sense (it is very much possible not to fall in love with the persons we have become). And this means total failure to love yourself though maybe you had great desires in the first place.
If I value praise and kind of recognition from friends and I pursue that value with all my efforts (self love in the first sense) but end up with no praises or some kind of lift up from friends, I will frown and be unhappy (self love in second sense not achieved). If my end is not happiness or appreciation of the person I have become, then the chase after my values was a wastage. How can this be solved? Read on.
How to love yourself best
1. Our desires/values
Pascal says that even those contemplating suicide or murdering others could be seeking their happiness in their own way! If we are to love ourselves best, we need to have the best desires and values. And how do we do that?
C. S Lewis wrote and said, "our sin is not our desire, but our weak desire". In other words, what we see as valuable and important may actually not be that very important! And you say, who knows what is important to me other than myself?
Whether you are a Christian or not, you well know from your own experience that your desires and what seem valuable to you have kept changing depending on your knowledge (call it awareness) and experience. What if it is the same way now? What if there is that which is more desirable and valuable than all that you know?
But what is it?
Man's greatest desire is eternal satisfaction and happiness. We wrote a good article about The True Man's Desire, read it too. We can pretend that all we ever desired are women, men, sex, money, fame, power, and all sorts of things but the truth is we are trying to quench the thirst and hunger for eternal satisfaction and happiness, which emptiness never fills.
Yes, read these other articles too; Heaven and Desire, Our desire and God in us, Who we are and our desire, and then The Only 3 Ways of Discovering Who We Are.
If we are to love ourselves best, we need to redefine our values and desires. We need to drop the weak and none valuable desires of money and sex, and embrace the stronger and higher desires of living eternally in eternal satisfaction and happiness.
Our failure to achieving our desires or even appreciating the persons we become could be so much due to our failure to define clearly what our heart's desires are. Having a clear vision and definition of what we really want is our first step to achieving self love.
2. The means to our desires.
As earlier highlighted, our pursue of our usual desires and happiness is chaotic for we don't know how to get there.
Pascal was right; we do all sorts of things, including those that hurt ourselves and others in pursue of what we call happiness. This is dangerous. We have not taken time to explain under which terms something is bad or good (that will be for another time), but we assume some things to be pretty clear and easy to sane minds.
Whether you are a Christian or not, you know very well that the means to eternity is in some sort of belief or faith in some sort of eternal and supernatural being. But the question is; is there such a reliable being? Yes, Jesus Christ, the son of true God. The Bible says, "I am (Jesus) the way, the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father (God) is through me" (John 14:6).
In other words, we can love ourselves best by shifting or changing the means and ways through which we pursue and attain our values and happiness. Yes, to be open, I am saying we need to accept and believe in Jesus Christ, our true way to all that is valuable in our lives.
By the way, this not necessarily about heavenly life and happiness but even important things like clothes, food, money, fame, sex and drinks for our God knows well that we need these things in this life (Matthew 6:31).
Yes, it is possible that we fail to love ourselves best because we have no clear and effective means of diving into our desires or that which we count important in our lives. Having good desires, but with no effective means of achieving them ultimately makes a bad ending for us.
3. Appreciating the person you have become.
Sanctification is the process through which we (Christians) continuously improve our lives in saying/speaking, thinking, and even acting more like Jesus. It is very important to appreciate and fall in love with the person we have become each day of our lives. We wrote something great about seeing ourselves through the eyes of our father, you could read that too.
Yes, positive self image (liking your body, speech, nose, smile, beauty, and every aspect) about you is part of this for we believe that our God is not God of some aspects of our lives but of all aspects including our physical beauty and needs.
The act of falling in love with self does not necessarily mean we are no longer pursuing perfection or improvement, but it simply means we are being patient with ourselves and being grateful for the little achievements we have recorded.
Yes, stop despising who you are, but fall in love with yourself. Identify those great things about yourself and enhance them even more. Identify those areas that seem bad and work it out to diminish them. And appreciate even the small work you have done in identifying your weak spots and planning on their improvements.
One of your best ways through which you can do this self inspection and improvement is the Bible. Yes, we see ourselves through the word and the same word improves us. Some other aspects of your life like physical beauty, knowledge, personal abilities, connections and talents may be examined and improved with other special tools as outlined in the Bible.
In other words, the Bible is our center of reference for it touches and guides all aspects of life.
To love ourselves best needs us to be patient and appreciative of the person we have become. And through gracious introspection with Jesus, we can deal with our weakest areas and improve ourselves greatly. Yes, we could have great desires or values or possibly have means of achieving them, but if we have no grace or guts to be happy with what we become after, then we have done no work. The good news is this;
These things are automatic. Once we figure out what we really need, we easily figure out how to achieve such a desire. And once such a desire is found and achieved, we are happy that we lived. Very automatic! Maybe we should join the scholar who said, "the beginning is always the hardest part".
Self love is taking care of yourself by struggling the best way you can to achieve your dreams, desires, values and wishes and then falling in love with whatever you have become after the chase.
Our true desire is to live eternally in eternal satisfaction and happiness and Jesus is the only way to not only that high form of satisfaction and happiness but also to our usual daily needs of food, drinks, clothes, and successes. Appreciating the persons we have become is possible and beneficial if done through the eyes of God, our creator for He is our true image.
Do you love yourself? Certainly yes. Do you love yourself best? No, not really until you confess Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Remember, we are not doing God a favor by loving Him but we are taking care of ourselves for it is through loving God that we are Mining gold for ourselves.
To know that we love ourselves best, we need to look at these 3 possessions and see if we always make sure that we have them ourselves. They are; greater values/desires/wishes, the means of achieving what we desire or count important in our lives, and appreciating the persons we have become following our chase and achievement of our desires. Unless we have these 3 things ourselves, then we have forgotten ourselves.
Brother and sister, you need to love yourself best!
Yes, I believe you can.
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The Complete You Ministry