Love Thyself But Never More Than You Love God
I seen a post on social media that read,
To love yourself, love God first. Effective self-love is a natural byproduct of loving God. When you agree with God's love for you and love the God who loves you, you'll learn to love yourself too.
The term SELF-LOVE has been circulating around in culture and other social circles, but I don't think everyone is on the same page of what it really means. The word itself elicits strength and power of being who we are to our very core. Makes us stand resolute when we make decisions and walk with a kind of boldness that cannot be duplicated if tried. It has its effect on every part of our lives, and, yet, there is something about how it teeters in the middle of a very unstable seesaw. Too much to the right or left will either leave us feeling like a doormat or a world class jerk who takes no regard for anyone else's feelings and emotions. It's dangerous to find ourselves on either end that can only go down with our weight. The heavier we make ourselves, the more likely we are to be at the mercy of gravity. It's hard to tell when you've gone too far, because most of the time, it takes going too far to know you've gone too far. When we are confident in who we are we are naturally confident in picking up speed on whatever journey we are on, because we have found our control, but just like the roadrunner and the coyote cartoon, it happens too often for us to find ourselves out of road, suspended over a cliff, anticipating in fear of the fall that would now be inevitable.
Self-love is naturally supposed to feed our ego, but too much looks more and more like bloat and indigestion. Too much of anything is unhealthy. We've at least come to understand that even with other things in our lives. But don't get me wrong, the act of loving yourself is a beautiful and powerful thing. For someone to love themselves and care about what happens to their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being has its merits, but some take it too far. In church, my Bishop spoke on how too much of what society calls "self love" can be borderline idolatry. We were never meant to love ourselves more than we love God. We are called to love ourselves as God loves us, not because we don't deserve more than that, but because when we value and find worth in who God has created us to be, and that helps us to follow Jesus' example and command to love one another.
We can't share love if we have none within us to give.
The idea that we can't pour from an empty cup applies, because that emptiness is not beneficial for anyone. I believe that the main people who need a healthy dose of self-love are the ones who have never been shown enough love to begin with. Growing up without being shown that you are cared for and that someone loves you, unconditionally, wrecks havoc with your self-esteem and self-confidence. You spend a lot of time trying to either rebuild that, because it's almost impossible to be who God has called you to be if you don't even know why He has called you in the first place.
Starting life with a love deficit looks like treating a child as though they aren't worthy of your love or care. As a child, you need to be defined and built up so that you can face the world in the best possible way. I still don't understand why someone would show such harshness and abandonment to a child when they know that the very moment they step into the real world beyond the four walls of their home, they will face even more harshness and hatred. While there are so many factors involved...I question people's decision not to be their child's best hope...
Why not prepare them properly instead of spending so much time showing them that they are not wanted or their existence on this earth isn't welcomed?
Childhood trauma and other examples such as bad past relationships are common areas where self-love gets left out of the picture. When no time is taken to care for yourself beyond taking a hot shower and changing your clothes regularly, it's easy to get lost in someone else's priorities.
I believe it was Oprah who reflected on how our upbringing can lead us to become "people pleasers", and compel us to put others' needs before our own. It then becomes unhealthy and lead to a decline in other areas of our lives. When we are not our best selves it is hard to give the best of us to others.
Self Love - having a high regard of one's own well-being and happiness; taking care of your own needs without sacrificing yourself to please others.
Those who are coming from a love deficit need a healthy dose of self-love, but those who have already learned how to be self-loving run the risk of turning what's called "self-love" into pride. Pride is what causes one to fall from grace. It implies that yourself is has a greater importance than anything else. It's important to love yourself because God loves you, but don't exalt yourself above God in a way where you think that you are better than anyone else.