Love Yourself, Love Others
‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’(Matthew 22:39b MSG)
The word of God says we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It’s easy to understand that we must care for our lives before loving others well. We can’t give what we don’t have. To stay healthy and be able to serve others, we need to take care of ourselves and pay attention to our inner needs. Sometimes, we need to rest, recognize, and engage in activities that can refresh our souls.
Self-love is certainly different from self-pity. Someone who practices self-love is open to receiving genuine help from others while maintaining healthy boundaries. They won’t be overwhelmed by guilt, regret, or shame but will be willing to open up. Expressing self-love shows that we are not perfect and strive to uphold divine values with humility and integrity.
Self-care is one element of self-love. Not practicing self-care is equivalent to not practicing self-love. Self-care involves taking the time to do things that help us live better and improve overall health – the whole life (physically, mentally, and spiritually). People who neglect self-care will disregard their own needs. Symptoms of those who don’t practice self-care include self-blame, constant dissatisfaction with their accomplishments, and a lack of contentment.
Another characteristic of not practicing self-love is someone who constantly sets life goals based on “what they hear from others”. They will be easily influenced. Social media and modern technology have a significant impact. Developments happen so quickly. Likewise, news of others’ achievements and activities is conveyed rapidly. What they achieve sometimes becomes deeply ingrained in our minds.
Unconsciously, ambition is triggered, transforming into a “new goal”. Without proper filters, event after event will influence the pursuit of one target after another, making life very exhausting. Life should be simple. The Word of God says, “Be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5b NIV). “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6 NIV)
How do we practice self-love? One of the suggestions is to stay connected in a community through healthy relationships, supportive groups, give and take. This helps us stay away from self-pity. In their interactions, such groups will assist each other in processing negative feelings and thoughts. Learning about the understanding of divine values will help nurture self-love. Strengthening relationships with God and fellow believers will enhance self-love and loving others, filled with hope, peace, and confidence in God’s great love.
Finally, someone who practices self-love can also set boundaries properly. The opinions of others do not easily influence their life goals, and they can align their goals with God’s plan.
Source: Ps. Agus Prihardjo (Moral & Mental Health Coordinator – IFGF Global)