The bible tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, if this is so, why do we find it so hard to love ourselves just as we are? why is it so easy for us to get burdened with feelings that we are not beautiful enough, not tall enough, not thin enough or short enough for the girls who tell me they wished they were not so tall. Notice how these things afore mentioned are things that cannot be altered no matter how much we worry.
We become vulnerable and fall into the victim’s mentality when we base how we feel about ourselves on other people’s opinions or compare ourselves with others. When you judge yourself harshly or put intense pressure on yourself, you become prone to depression. Loving and accepting yourself as God loves you opens the door to a much greater sense of peace and fulfillment. It’s like feeling as though there were a higher power above supporting your every decision and move.
I realized that when I talk about self-love and self-acceptance, a lot of people tend to misunderstand what I mean, like this my friend here telling me she loves herself so much “in fact I want to date me”, well that’s not exactly what I mean, you see I’m not advocating for loving yourself in a self-absorbed, conceited way. The form of self-love I’m advocating is self-less, You give more than you take, you offer without being asked, you share even when you have little, you put yourself down to lift others up, you find happiness by making others smile, you love yourself because you are not all about yourself and you are happy with who you are because you make others happy to be around you. It’s really easy you see, I get excited when I talk to my friends about how excited and grateful I am to have them influence my life and have me influence theirs.
I had the full attention of a very good friend when I chose to work on this topic and she asked “what if you can’t just love yourself because no one loves you?” well, that’s not possible, you see, you and I are Gods children, and each one of us can count on his unconditional love, his mercy and his forgiveness, we are all of value in his eyes, so we should love ourselves, be understanding of our imperfections, and forgiving of our mistakes because God does all that for us. What was the most important commandment Jesus stated in the bible? We should love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and right after was to love our neighbor as ourselves. So loving yourself is not about being selfish, self-satisfied or self-centered, it’s about accepting your life as a gift to be nurtured and shared as a blessing to others. So instead of dwelling on your imperfections, your failings or your mistakes focus on your blessings, they are so much I tell you, forget about the Iphone device you can’t afford and think about the good health you have that even Steve Jobs the co-founder of Apple couldn’t buy, think about the free oxygen you breathe daily and the constant blood that flows through your vain, do you have any idea how expensive those can get?, you have the ability to hear and see, that’s a blessing, And if ever you doubt, ask yourself if you would give away your good health for wealth or your limbs for that dream car or your ability to see for a private jet.
The true blessing which sadly we overlook is a perfectly good health, every other is secondary. So think of the contribution you can make whether it’s a talent, knowledge, wisdom, creativity, hard-work or a nurturing soul. You don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations except yours, you’re allowed to define your own version of perfection.
I have a particular friend who is so comfortable with herself, so at peace and enthused about developing her gifts that she just seems to radiate good feelings, I value being around her, everyone loves being around her, why? Because she shines from within, she loves herself but not in the “you’re so vain” way, she accepts herself as blessed even when outcomes don’t go her way, even though she struggles just like you and I. I’m sure you know somebody who gives off that same comfortable vibe, just as you probably know the opposite sort of person whose bitterness and self-loathing drive everyone away.
You got to learn to glow, if you don’t shine from within, it may be because you rely on others to validate you, to give you confidence, or make you feel appreciated, even though you might be blessed with a few people who can do that, that’s a sure road that leads to disappointment. The only important measure of your beauty and value as a person should be the one that comes from within. You’re probably thinking “easy to say, tough to do”, but I’m just trying to help you see how cruel life could be, people can be thoughtless or just plain mean, so you must be able to look inside for strength and when that strength fails you can always look above to God, the ultimate source of strength and love.
Self-acceptance and self-love are important but often misunderstood concepts these days. As put by Nick Vujicic, you should love yourself as a reflection of God’s love and as someone put on this earth to make a unique contribution. Too many of our generation youth settle for a more superficial meaning when they buy into the extremes of narcissism and self-indulgence. This is due, in no little part, to the cult of beauty and celebrity promoted on reality shows, movies, podcasts and videos. When you watch those shows it’s easy to forget that life has greater purpose than looking good, living in luxury and “hooking-up”. No wonder more celebrities are in rehab than in church. Too many of them worship the false gods of vanity, pride and lust. I am going to sensor my words now but I know you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’m particularly not one to get psyched over a celebrity of any sort, don’t you think this would be a better world if the paparazzi followed college graduates with advanced degrees or missionaries bringing medicine and hope to the poor and needy instead of stalking and paying a lot of money to go watch rehab dropouts with rap-sheets and needle scars? But all hope is not lost, I’ve seen huge number of people, young and old converting, just like I did, attending religious ceremonies and festivals of praise, seeking contentment by learning to love their neighbor and be selfless. I’ve watched teens and adults who spend their vacations building homes in third world countries and serving the needy in impoverished areas of Africa. You see not everyone is obsessed with plastic surgery, make-up-on-fleek, parties or Louis vuitton bags. When you get caught up in material things and surface beauty trying to get other people to value you, you give up too much of yourself and risk letting your blessings go to waste.
Whenever I lose sight of who I am and let current situations weigh me down and make me question my life, I always fall back to the mirror, and I employ you to do same , when your spirit is tumbling because you’ve been hurt, stepped-on or disparaged, go to the mirror and find one feature you love about yourself, it doesn’t have to be a physical characteristic, it can be a talent, a trait, a skill or something else that makes you feel good about yourself, dwell on that special something for a while. Be grateful for it, and know that your beauty and value comes from the unique person you were made to be.
I have a very playful 9month old dog, she takes meat illegally so I beat her sometimes which makes her scared of me, but whenever I’m seated in my room feeling downright moody or sober she comes around and tries to start up a fight or a rag-drag competition so timidly I can’t help but give her a rob on the back, so then I ask, how can a dog still love me regardless of how I beat her? She’s selfless you see. So if only you will love yourself as you are, for all your beauty inside and out, others will be drawn to you and they will see your beauty too. Oh and in case you’re wondering , I still beat her, she still steals but we still play so the circle just continues.
One day in my junior class of secondary school, I went to the restroom after having a “can’t solve the equation” moment with my teacher, like that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the pipe just beneath the faucet broke because I had my entire weight on it and water sprinkled on uhmm my private area, so it looked like I peed my pant. I tried to wipe it dry but it just kept spreading, immediately I came out the restroom it was as though these set of girls were waiting for me at the corridor, I couldn’t tell if they were talking about my wet pant but I was sure they were laughing at it, I was so embarrassed, I couldn’t wipe it off and couldn’t cover it either so I decided to make jokes off it myself before anyone could, I didn’t let anyone see it before I said something ridiculous about it, I became so paranoid that I walk up to random people and start explaining how it happened without them asking, when they noticed I was laughing at myself more than they were, they gradually retreated and got tired.
Sometimes through our own doing we make little problems big by taking them too seriously. Having wet pants is not a big deal. We are all perfectly imperfect human beings, some of us may be more than others, but we all have our flaws and our short comings. It’s important not to take every little wart or wrinkle too seriously because one day you might be faced with something truly serious gone wrong, and then what will you do? So stand prepared to laugh at life’s little knocks on the head, bumps on the nose and well, water on your pants.
I’ve been known to laugh excessively, even in serious situations, I don’t know, sometimes I think it’s a curse, but after I discovered that laughter has been shown to reduce stress by releasing endorphin hormones, the body’s natural relaxant, also boosting your immune system and improving your blood flow while also increasing oxygen flow to the brain. Not bad, eh? Studies have also shown that laughter makes you more attractive. A double bonus! Problem is, I over do mine, I always overdo it, and according to my own research it can kill, I always fall short of breath, my ribcage begin to hurt bad as well as my head then for a brief moment, I lose my full ability to stand, true story!
I’ve learned to laugh about my problems and the strange responses they provoke, but there is an even better method for overcoming doubts about your self-worth or your inability to love yourself as you are. Instead of dwelling on that pain within, reach out to someone else’s pain. I promise you there are people who have it worse than you think you do, go on the streets and see people living like they ready to die, with raggedy clothes on and no shoes and have no idea where they are going to get their next meal from aside that dumpster around the corner. So I’m pleading with you, stop thinking you have it bad, go give something to the homeless man on the street or go to an orphanage, reach out to ease someone else’s pain, put your focus on someone else in need and I promise, you will feel some sort of self-satisfaction.
You have to keep striving, keep growing, keep giving all you have to give, so that in the end you can look back and say, “I gave it my best shot”. Look in the mirror and say “this is who I am, and I accept the challenge of becoming the best I can be. You are beautiful because God created you for his purpose in his image. Your challenge however is to find that purpose, fill it with hope and drive it on faith and put your uniqueness to the highest possible use.
I had a temporal move to my grandma’s home in south central Benin city and I met this great guy named Mr. Abaka, he wasn’t the richest or most accomplished man in the block, matter-fact he was just a Grass-cutter, but Mr. Abaka is one of those people who glowed from within, He was at peace with himself, so comfortable in his coveralls that everyone respected him and enjoyed being around him, when he starts talking to you about his ideas and forthcomings you’ll be super thrilled, he could always keep a good and positive conversation going. I have a lot of well to do friends from around the world but only few possess this unique ability.
We are so quick to share our imperfections, we need to share the beautiful gifts we’ve been given, look inside, there is a light inside you just waiting to shine. Loving and accepting yourself is the only surefire cure for self pity and victimhood. Drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity offer temporary relief and eventually they end up bringing more pain, depression and problems. You see when I came to really accept myself as a child of God and a part of his plan, my life was forever changed. You may not be a believer in Christ but you can darn right believe in your value and purpose on this planet.
“I thought life was unfair until somebody told me life is fair because it is unfair to everybody” by unknown…