The other day my brother came into my room, walked over to the mirror and checked himself out. ‘Dang I look good’, he said whilst running his hand through his hair. Then he gave me his big ol’ smile and walked out the room. No conversation, nada.
‘Well he’s a bit full of himself today…’ I mused as he left. But it got me thinking…Is he being arrogant, or does he just really love himself? Is loving yourself that much actually healthy?
God’s second greatest biblical commandment is: Love one another as you love yourself. See, I never really stopped to dissect that commandment. I just went with the classic Sunday school answer:
Numero Uno: Love God
Numero Dos: Love Thy Neighbour
But it reads, ‘love one another as you love yourself’: AS you love YOURSELF people! How many of you actually love others more than yourself? How easy is it to complement your bestie but not be able to say the same thing to yourself? Sometimes I find it easier to complement a random chick in the shopping centre bathrooms then tell myself I look good—that’s messed up.
Self-love is attractive
After my brother walked out of my room, I laughed. It was fun to see how much he loved himself and how good he thought he looked. His self-love brought me joy.
Self-love creates an atmosphere of positivity, rather than negative thought patterns. Perfect love casts out fear (One John, Chapter Four, Verse Eighteen).
Self-love: ‘The instinct or tendency to seek one's own well-being or to further one's own interest’. A year or so ago I began to realise this non-self-love attitude that had been forming inside me, so I began taking myself on dates. In doing so I found my favourite places to eat, where the best chai latte is made, my favourite spots to walk in the local forest, the best cafes that serve avocado and eggs on toast.
It was super weird at first, but I got used to it. I chose to love myself, I treated myself the way I would treat my friends, and I actually learned to love my character and my own company.
It’s also super important to include hobbies into your self-love. What do you love doing? It’s actually really awesome getting to know someone and learning about their hobbies and what makes them happy. It’s super boring when the person doesn’t know what they love. Like, hello, what are we gonna do today -watch teletubbies? Yeah…nah.
Self-love is attractive because people like to be around people that love themselves in a healthy way. Being around someone that constantly puts down the way they look, who they are as a person, their personality etc. is tiring, and creates a negative atmosphere.
It’s fun to be around people that are confident and really love themselves. And its super healthy to be around people that love themselves and think well of themselves. Why wouldn’t it be?
Self-love enables me to love greater
When I love myself, I can love others greater. If I don’t love myself, who God’s made me to be, my personality or the way I look, how can I ever accept others’ love for me or extend true love myself?
Loving yourself also enables you to know things about you that you can share with others.
I love adventuring in nature and finding cool new places, and what is better than sharing these findings my with my besties? I’m sharing the cool things I’ve discovered with my self-love and in turn, loving others really well.
If your self-love doesn’t cause you to love others greater then we probably have a problem. That is when we aren’t sticking to the commandment.
What I love about my brother is that he loves himself super well and will check himself out in the mirror, but he also complements me and my sisters and calls us beautiful. He will raise his eyebrows and say in boy language, ‘Your hair is good’, if it’s curled. If we are dressed up he will say how nice we look (sorry ladies, he’s taken). If he constantly checked himself out but never complemented us, that’s when I would have suspicions. But he doesn’t, his love is really pure.
Anything not grown in humility, won’t taste sweet. Stay humble in the way you love. Remember, humility doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself, it means thinking of yourself less. If your self-love doesn’t cause you to love others as yourself, reassess, be mature enough to humble yourself and change your motives.
Self-love is extremely vital to your wellbeing
If you struggle with self-love I encourage you to persevere and be disciplined enough to really love yourself. Some practical ways are to actually complement yourself, or write a positive note to yourself in your phone and refer back to it. Ask God for his thoughts about you and write them down, ask the Holy Spirit to be your company if you take yourself out—it’s actually super fun!
I know how difficult self-love can be, but we have the mind of Christ! (1 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 16). All things are possible through him! He wants you to love yourself! He made you, and he thinks you are mighty fine, I’m absolutely sure of that.
Shannon Munyard is home to the Adelaide Hills where she works as a horse riding instructor and equine assisted learning facilitator at a non-for profit youth campsite. Shannon is passionate about authenticity, and seeing people connected to their hearts. She loves the outdoors, bush camping, pondering deep questions and Jesus.