Happy “After Valentine’s Day!”
I admit I thought I was a ‘lovey dovey’ person, but if valentines is the measure of that, then I terribly fail at it. It has refused to register as an important day to celebrate. Thankfully hubby makes an extra effort to ensure I don’t be left out in the celebration all around us. God bless my love, @Patrezah for always jumping at every opportunity to express love to me.
Now, I know for some people this day means a lot. It is held in high regard, close to a birthday, wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day celebration for many of my fellow female specie. But I want to bring in a different aspect; self-love. As simple as it sounds, self-love is as important as loving others. In fact, the greatest commandment as given in Mathew 22: 37 – 39 shows how important self-love is in helping us love others.The way I understand this self-love is that first and foremost, it starts with acknowledging that God loves me, He loved me way before I acknowledged His place in my life. I am filled with all the beautiful things that come from this love He has for me. When I let this sink in, I have no other choice but to love Him wholeheartedly. Loving Him invariably causes me to love His creation. First Loving myself in the full knowledge that I am made in His Image. Only then can I start to love others the way that I love myself. Question is do you love yourself? You cannot give what you do not have.
Mathew 22: 37 – 39 ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ – NKJV
Overtime I have come to realise that much of our struggles in loving ourselves are because we have not accepted or understood the depth of our Father’s love for us. We struggle with a low self-image because we do not understand that He created us in His image. We struggle with negative comparisons, because we do not understand that we are uniquely created and each one of us has a unique purpose and therefore there’s enough room for all of us to shine. We struggle with valuing ourselves and others because we do not understand the value God placed on us as His redeemed children. He sent His son who died on the cross for us. How much more valuable does it get than a cost of a life. I write about this because I have been in that place of self-doubt, but I am glad that, it is no more. If you are in this place right now or still struggling to get out. This message is for you. You do not have to stay in this place. Choose life!
You see if you do not learn to love yourself, it will not matter how many special treats you receive, you will always go back to that emptiness. You will never fully love others because as I stated earlier, you can not give what you do not have. Imagine all that greatness inside of you, no one will see or experience it because it is bottled up in self-pity, self-hatred, a bad self-image you name it… You are denying the world from experiencing the best You. You need to come to a place of believe. Believing what God says about you. You are the apple of His eye; created to be like Him. It does not matter what you have gone through in Life, what God says about you is truth FOREVER.
One of the things I have come to appreciate is that loving myself doesn’t mean that I am perfect. No, I do not have to be perfect for God to love me. Likewise, I learn to love the whole of me, my flaws, my scars, and all the non lovable things about me. I know who I am (His Likeness) and I love me. I believe that loving myself is a form of worship to God. I am acknowledging Him for creating me so wonderfully. Psalms 139 is a great inspiration in this regard. Understanding this helps me love other wonderfully and fearfully created humans in the same way.
One of my all-time favourite artists is Whitney Houston and she sang a song which had the lyrics “Learning to love yourself, is the greatest Love of all” Maybe she was at that place of discovering herself and learning to love the whole of her. If you still hate yourself because of all that you have gone through in life and things you wish you had done right, I pray that you learn to love yourself. I pray that you ignore all the negative things that have been said to you or behind your back and listen to God’s message of love to you.
Sometimes this self-doubt comes at different stages in life. Not long ago, I was falling back into that self-doubt season. During and after pregnancy, I had one of those seasons when I was feeling so fat and not sure If I loved the fat version of me. People were quite generous with the “Eh, you have put on too much weight” comments. If I didn’t know who I was, I would have easily slipped back to my old self. But thank God for the support system around me;
especially my hubby who kept reassuring me about who I am; I overcame those comments. I learned to love the new different kind of me and concentrated on working out for health reasons, not to go back to a very skinny me. Old Dee was petit and pretty, but she was also young, timid and self cautious. I absolutely love the new Dee too. She is aware of herself and content in who she is and who she is becoming.
Because I understand the struggle, I can now extend love to anyone going through it. If I had allowed to willow in self pity, I would not be able to extend love because I would still be in that place of self doubt.
As we reflect on what did/did not happen on Valentine’s Day 2018, I hope we can all receive the peace that comes through learning to love ourselves. The kind of love that comes from receiving the Father’s love. The love that opens our eyes to see God’s love for humanity and helps us to love others beyond our human understanding.
The truth is it all begins and ends with God.