A Process for Loving Yourself as Jesus Taught
November 15, 2019
Jesus’ Two Great Commandments are about love: love God with all of yourself and love your neighbor as yourself. What gets overlooked is to love yourself as in love your neighbor as [you love] yourself. And I think that we often do love our neighbor as poorly as we love ourselves. We each grow up with a skewed self-image and beliefs about ourselves that we pick up from our parents and siblings even in a loving family, our teachers and the culture. Our self image is a lot worse if there was abuse or neglect in our past. These beliefs can still rule us till the end of our lives if we don’t wake up to a truer picture of ourselves.
First, we have to accept that God loves us, imperfect beings that we are, even if the only place we know it for sure is with our minds. We can know that God loves us and never feel His love, never feel loved.
Second, in accepting that He loves us, we can then say to ourselves: “Well, if God can love me, knowing everything about me, then surely I can love myself. And so we turn our own eyes of love on our lives and all that we are, all that we have said and done and all that was done to us. What follows below is a process that will lead to forgiveness and self-love. And why would we do that? Because, until we can love ourselves, we’ll be holding God and everyone else at arms’ length. We’ll be only able to love in part, not wholly. And we will never realize the fullness of who we were created to be. So here goes…
A process leading to self-love
Write out your answers truthfully, thoughtfully and fully. Take your time, over hours, days and weeks, as long as you need to do it thoroughly. Do it with prayer, asking God’s help in doing this assessment. And finish the project.
Part 1: Looking back over your whole life,
- List all the things/people that formed me positively.
- List the things/people that formed me negatively.
- List the things that I did that left me with guilt or shame.
- From which things have I learned the most?
- Which formative things are healed in me?
- Have I been able to help people who were similarly mistreated or challenged?
- What have I gained from doing that?
Part 2: How can I live a life loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Gratitude for the whole of my life is the answer.
- List all the things/people in my life I am grateful for.
- What would it take for me to be grateful for everything in my life?
- How can I live a life in gratitude to God for all that I’ve been given?
Part 3: Accessing your truer self
This is an exercise that starts with sitting in God’s presence or praying for God to reveal what you need to know now
- Start with a prayer of your choice
2. Draw or scribble, use crayons or pens or pencil, put some image, good or not, down on paper. Starting in the right brain, even if you are not an artist, gives you access to the deeper parts of yourself.
3. Write down whatever comes. And then figure out what God is saying to you in the drawing and the writing.
4. Repeat this Pray/Draw/Write exercise maybe once a week until you feel you have completed the assignment to love yourself.