In today’s Encouragement for Today, I remind us that there should be room for imperfection as we love others.
But can we be honest? This is a struggle as we love ourselves too.
What if we loved others like we loved ourselves? What would that look like? For some, we’d set the bar so high there’s no way to ever come close. We don’t allow imperfection or failure, because that’s not allowed.
No, we don’t do this to others. Why do we do it to ourselves?
For some, if we treated others like we do ourselves we’d beat them up silently, exposing them to thoughts of shame and comparison. There’d be no relief from the constant critique.
Of course we don’t do this to others, so why do we do it to ourselves?
Loving ourselves is not a concept that is easy to wrap our brain around. In yesterday’s More Than Small Talk podcast, Holley, Jennifer, and I really struggled at first to talk about this. It felt awkward and a little self-serving to talk about loving ourselves, but eventually we pushed through.
I’m glad we did.
What if we saw loving ourselves in three parts: mind, body, soul (heart)?
We’d pour truth over our thoughts instead of beating ourselves up. We would douse lies and accusations with God’s word when they tried to spring their sticky claws into our thought life. We remind ourselves that God is on our side and he loves us with a love so deep it’s immeasurable. We’d hold close to grace and mercy and when we mess up (because we will), we’d ask God to show us a way up and out and to teach us so we emerge stronger and wiser. We’d feed our brain with good things.
That’s one way to love ourselves.
The second is to take care of this temporary body we’ve been given. We offer it rest and sleep and food that nurtures. We don’t see our body as a measurement of how beautiful we are, so we aren’t constantly comparing to others. Instead we are grateful for this amazing creation that God gave us and we take care of it so we live strong and whole.
We read Psalm 139:14 and we see ourselves as “beautiful and wonderfully made,” and it has little to do with outward beauty, but the way a creative God wired us and painted the world with such diversity and color and unique personalities.
The third is our soul — the part of us that is connected to God. I love the verse that says, “God inhabits the praises of his people.” This simply means he takes up residence where he is welcome. He’s already there, but we expand the rooms of our soul as we invite him into every part of who we are. The broken parts. The really happy parts. The parts where we are still growing. We nurture our soul as we talk to God. As we soak in His word, not as a task or a to-do, but because it lights us up and shapes our soul and connects us with him.
What does it mean to you to love yourself? What if you loved others the same way?
I hope you’ll listen to the podcast. It’s so easy to find. It’s on your favorite podcast app, like iTunes. It’s at our favorite radio station, KLRC. Today’s episode is Episode 11. What you’ll find is three women, just like you, trying to figure out what this looks like and maybe encouragement to help you define it too.
The takeaway I found in this conversation is this:
- It makes sense that “loving yourself” feels like an awkward topic, and that’s okay
- Loving yourself is multi-faceted: mind, body, and soul
- That critic in your head can be a mean girl, and she’s not welcome
- We can be out of balance in any of these three areas, but we don’t have to stay there
So, today here’s your challenge. Love yourself the way you want to love others. Are you willing to do that? Share one step you’ll take beginning today.
The resource mentioned in today’s podcast is Jennifer Watson’s new book, Freedom! The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and Life Beyond It.
- A second resource that might be helpful is The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places. You are worth fighting for, beautiful friend. If your heart is in need of healing, this is a gentle resource to help you mend.
Leave a comment on KLRC’s Episode 11 of More Than Small Talk and you’ll be entered to win a cuff bracelet from Jennifer Watson. (You’ll love it!)