By Rebecca Hastings
How do you show yourself love?
The question landed like a rock tossed in a lake, sinking deep and leaving ripples. I was good at showing my kids love. I work hard to show my husband love. Friends, family, and even the grocery store cashier get a kind word or a smile. But me? Well, that’s another story.
But what if I have things mixed up? What if the words of Jesus guide me to something better?
Love Others As You Love Yourself
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 (CSB)
As I remember these verses in Matthew, I stop and consider their significance.
- They are in the Bible so we know they are essential.
- They are directly from the mouth of Jesus.
- Jesus is telling us the most important things for us to know.
Also, I consider how rarely I follow them. They sound good on the page and in church, but if I were to love my neighbor as I love myself, things would get a little rocky. Why? Because sometimes I don’t love myself well.
Sometimes it can be easier for us to love the people in our lives than it is to love ourselves. We get caught in the idea that it’s prideful or silly to love ourselves well. But Jesus is clear about the order of things.
First, We Must Love God
We don’t start with ourselves. We don’t start with our spouse. We don’t even start with our kids. We begin by loving God.
It’s not enough to love Him in passing. We are called to love him fully, with our hearts, our souls, and our minds. Will we do this perfectly? Absolutely not. But it is what Jesus calls us to do.
We Can’t Skip What’s Next: Ourselves
This is the step so many of us skip. We think that we go from loving God to loving everyone else. The only thing that has happened in my life has left me cranky.
When we jump right to loving others, we are working outside of the framework Jesus outlined. There is a reason He tells us to love others as ourselves. If we’re always berating ourselves, passing over ourselves, and forgetting to experience love within ourselves, we can never fully love the people around us.
Instead, as we love God with our whole selves, we are filled with Him. This gives us the opportunity to fill ourselves up with His perfect love. Once we do that, we can extend love to those around us.
Now We Love Others
This is when we can love others in the best way possible. Filled with Jesus, and experiencing His love, we have the reserves to extend love to the people around us. We can love them fully, without judgment or impatience. We can love from a place of confidence in Christ.
How to Show Yourself Love
Showing yourself love may not be something that comes naturally to you. I know it doesn’t come naturally to me. That’s why we start with loving God.
As we love Him and receive His love for us, we can better understand how to live loved.
Some simple ways to show yourself love are:
- Read God’s Word
- Make the meal you love (even if it’s not your family’s favorite)
- Get outside
- Take a few deep breaths or practice box breathing
- Meditate on a scripture
- Get the sleep you need
- Say yes to more of the things you love
- Say no to the things you don’t love (and don’t really need to do)
- Try something new
- Ask a friend for help
- Listen to a song that makes you smile
- Look at old pictures
- FaceTime a friend for no reason and don’t rush to get off the phone
- Read a new book
- Speak truth over your life (out loud!)
- Pick the restaurant for date night
- Wear something that makes you feel beautiful
- Get yourself flowers or a plant
- Choose a favorite movie from your childhood for family movie night
- Light the fancy candles
There are so many ways to incorporate more self-love into your life! As you try things, notice what makes you feel loved. When you feel loved, you are free to love others more.
Wife Step: Choose one item from the list above to do this week to show yourself love first, so you can love God and others even more.
Rebecca Hastings is a writer and speaker helping women discover faith in their real, everyday life. Married for 23 years, she is a wife and mother of three living in her hometown in Connecticut. Her books, including Worthy: Believe Who God Says You Are, are available on Amazon. Rebecca can often be found typing words, driving her kids places, or wherever there is chocolate.
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