Interestingly, this perfectly dovetails into the Bible Study we are beginning in our small group. Another great example of a God-incidence in my life. I was already pondering this very subject and I get a little nudge to continue to explore exactly why we do not love ourselves.
Somewhere between loving ourselves above all others (narcissism is the fancy psycho babble name) and deep seeded hatred toward ourselves is the goal. The key lies in the First Great Commandment---"Love the Lord Your God with ALL your heart, your soul, and your mind." Putting God first and worshiping Him above all else allows us to live the life He intended. The first step toward loving ourselves is loving God and because of this love being obedient. As we strive to be obedient, we please God and when God is pleased with us--we are pleased with ourselves.
When we were children, we sought our parents' approval. When we managed to stay within the boundaries of their rules, hopefully we received their approval and reaped the warm and fuzzies. We became proud of ourselves and beamed when we knew they were proud of us. They were the ultimate earthly authority in our lives and we looked to them for a reflection of who we are. If they were proud of us--we were proud of ourselves also.
Contrast that to when I was naughty (GASP--I know difficult to believe). When I broke the rules, there was swift consequences. The emotions I felt included shame, embarrassment, and failure. My parents were not proud of me and that disapproval was reflected in how I felt about myself.
NOW---before you jump on my case about what Jesus did for us---I totally understand this. The topic of this blog is not His paying the cost of my sin-the topic is why we do not love ourselves. We do not love ourselves because we believe the lies we are fed by The Deceiver. We replace our mantle of righteousness with the mantle of shame. We do not love ourselves because we have not accepted what was freely given to us and cling to the shame of the past.
As I work through this Bible Study and ponder this question, my goal is to accept who I am and God's provision. Learning to love myself will open a huge door in deepening my relationship with The Father. As I learn to love Him deeper and deeper, I will understand the perfection of His love and this will allow me to love others in the fullness of the Father's love. I believe Newton's scientific principle is "For every action there is a equal and opposite reaction." As I accept God's love for me, I am able to love myself and pour out that love on others."
What a beautiful truth!
We love because God first loved us.
I John 4:19