I've heard it my entire life and I'm sure you have too. "You have to love yourself." But that's a hard thing to do isn't it? When, as a teenager, you are the only one (or so it seems) that isn't dating at all much less at the moment it feels lonely and you feel unlovable. I chose not to date because it seemed pointless to me but still it made me feel like an outcast. I wasn't flirting with the small pack of guys in our group like the other girls were. At the time it made me a freak but now all I can say is, "Thank you for saving me from that dear Jesus!" But as that outcast its hard to look to the future and realize that one day you will be grateful for those choices.
Or how about when you are looking in the mirror at a less than perfect body and you wonder how he could still find that attractive? Yeah, its hard to love yourself then no matter how warped that thinking is. When you realize an entire day has gone by and nothing has been accomplished its hard to love yourself. When you catch yourself yelling at those you love most and see the faces of your children in reaction to that yelling its hard to love yourself. And what about all those other times you fail at life and don't do what you should? Do you feel very lovable then? Not usually. And you can rationalize how others can still love you because they don't know all the sordid details, but you do so your self hatred is justified.
Even though I'm talking to myself as much as anyone else when I write I want to challenge that thinking. In me as much as anyone else.
When we, as women, treat ourselves as less than worthy what are we doing to those around us? I would go so far as to say that we are calling the ones that love us stupid and discounting their view of us all together. When my husband tells me I'm beautiful, pregnant belly and all and I tell myself he's nuts then I'm calling him a liar and calling his opinion garbage. When he tells me I'm a great mom and I find myself arguing with him inwardly or out loud again I'm hurting myself and him. The same goes for every other time I tell myself something contrary to what he says or for that matter what God says.
So maybe that old annoying saying is true. Maybe we do have to love and even treasure ourselves a bit. Not that I know how to go about that exactly but I think its time I figure it out a little bit. Moms are the worst at this I think. We sacrifice far beyond the point of needing to. We don't have "me time" ever because its "selfish." We feel guilty for buying new things or even wanting a new hand lotion for goodness sake.
So, how do we stop the madness? How do we take care of ourselves and even love ourselves? I'm not exactly sure. Although a good place to start would be to, within the budget of course to stay guilt free, buy yourself a new shirt and be happy about it. But what about the things that don't cost money? What ways can you love yourself just a little bit today? Maybe I'll try listening to my husband for once and not let those silly little reasons that don't matter sneak into my thoughts.
For now its a start and one I think I can make. But I need to work harder at that loving myself thing. Maybe we can work on it together.