For a long time now, I’ve really struggled with the temptation to hate myself. My memory is a little fuzzy for everything before age 15 or so, but I definitely remember hating myself then. I was 12 when I first seriously considered suicide, so I feel confident guessing I hated myself then too. Before that I can recall definitely feeling like everyone was better than I was. Not just at specific things, but better in general. More worthy of love. Now that I’m an adult, I find myself thinking horribly negative things about myself, and even occasionally going so far as to cut myself.
This isn’t what we are called to do. Each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image and likeness of God the Father Almighty. We were made for love, by love, and from love. Jesus himself said the second greatest commandment is “love your neighbor as yourself.” Which someone once pointed out to me means that it was taken for granted we would love ourselves. We are called to love God, love each other, and love ourselves. To fail to do so is disordered at best, and sinful at worst.
When I talk about loving oneself, I don’t mean this in a prideful way. I’m not encouraging people to become self-centered, but having a certain amount of self love is a good thing. As in all things, temperance is important. Both extreme ends of the scale ought to be avoided.
I’ve decided to approach learning to love myself the same way I would go about making friends with someone else. God has blessed me with the ability to love people fairly easily. I try and remember this when I find myself thinking negative things about myself. Thoughts can be poisonous. A friend once taught me that sin doesn’t happen at the level of our thoughts. Sin happens in our will. Thoughts can race through our minds against our will, we have the choice to entertain them or not. I may not be able to control how often “I suck” pops through my mind, but I can choose to tell myself in response that it’s not true.
Another thing I can do is take care of myself. Often this is something overlooked. Loving yourself can mean the simple things, like making sure you go to bed on time or eat a healthy meal. These things are important for living a good Christian life.
These are my thoughts for this week. Feel free to comment below, and thanks for reading. See you all next week.