I’ve mentioned to you all that I grew up with four siblings right? Three older sisters and a younger brother. That means plenty of time for petty arguments, tattle tales, and fights because one of us had hurt the others feelings. And while my parents taught us MANY things growing up there was always one rule that was said over and over again. I bet you already know what it is. We all know the golden rule, “treat others how you want to be treated.” No matter who you are, what religion or spirituality you practice, this rule is known just about everywhere. Today I found myself thinking about it and I actually asked myself, “How do I want to be treated?” Like really. For me, the first few words that come to mind are; kindness, gentleness, with love, and with respect. And that’s just the basics!
That of course leads you to think that this blog will be about how we can treat others. Which don’t get me wrong, you SHOULD treat others with kindness, gentleness, respect, and love. Always. But what if I asked you about how YOU treat YOU? We spend a lot of our time consumed with how others are treating us, at work, at home, even in traffic. But we don’t ever really consider how we treat ourselves. Do you love yourself? If I were to ask you how you treat yourself what would the answer be? Let’s be honest. I can tell you if anyone treated me like I treat me… I might resort to violence. (ok that's dramatic and not entirely true but you get the idea) Seriously though! If someone said the things that I tell myself in my head we would break up, be estranged, and I would kindly never speak to them again.
Another quote we hear constantly and brush off our backs is that “we are our own worst critics.” Sometimes we say it with a smile and a laugh, but truthfully that mindset can be damaging. In today’s society we are all about moving to the next level, being the best, even if that means we are filtered, fake, and in reality unhappy with ourselves. Because we are only going to be truly happy when; When we get the job, lose the weight, our skin clears up, he proposes, pregnancy finally happens, or someone else finally says they are proud of us. And we can’t love ourselves until that “thing” happens. Until we reach the mark. So we spend the present beating ourselves up, pushing ourselves to the edge, and wondering why we are less than we want to be.
But y’all that is SO not how God works. That is ABSOLUTELY not the life God intended for us to live. Look up literally any example of the people Jesus loved, worked with, and ministered to. And the people that God called to purposes that were far beyond their wildest expectations. Most of those people struggled with loving themselves. With how they saw themselves. And that still rings true for many of us today. We struggle because we see ourselves through the lens of human capabilities. But God doesn’t see us like that, He has His own lens, and His own plans. In His eyes, we are capable of MORE than we could ever dream or imagine.
If God heard the way you spoke to yourself what would He say? I think when He hears my inner dialogue His heart might break a little. How can I see myself as so unworthy and unlovable when He literally created the entire universe (me and you included) and sent His son to die for us. He loves us that much. He loves us in a way that is incomprehensible to the human mind. And while I don’t think changing the way you treat yourself or learning to love yourself happens over night, it's worth the effort. You are worth the effort and the journey of self love. We are worthy because HE is worthy. The Creator of the Universe decided that the world needed one of you. Just as you are, broken, flaws, too much, too little, all of you. Exactly who you are at this moment. He loves you. He cherishes you and you are beautifully and wonderfully made. Go read Psalm 139 if you want to know just how deeply God loves you and knows you.
So what if during the month of love, we worked towards loving ourselves the way God loves us? We try to focus on what we say to ourselves, how we treat ourselves, and try to see ourselves through God’s eyes. We take the extra time for a facemask, long bath, exercise class, EAT THE DONUT, journal some, and tell the girl in the mirror you love her. Just as she is. These small steps will allow yourself to truly love who you are, and then it pours out onto others. Like 1 Thessalonians 3:12 says, “And may the Lord increase your love until it overflows towards one another and for all people, just as our love overflows toward you.” Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day how you would WANT to be treated. How you would treat the love of your life and don’t settle for anything less!
Maggie is a Psychology Enthusiast, Writer, and an Advocate for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing. She has walked through brokenness and learned that she’s not alone there. She wants to bring radical, relatable, and raw content that allows people to see into her journey and find hope there that illuminates their darkness. Connect with Maggie to learn more.