Does Self-Love Fit in With Christianity?
In an age of everyone prioritizing themselves and preaching self-love left and right, where does the word of God fit in?
Honestly, at what point does God say, "love yourself! Make yourself a priority. Work on you and your goals?"
He doesn't. Though I don't believe God is against the mentality behind what it means to live a life filled with self-love.
Today, I wanted to revisit an old post of mine.
When I wrote this piece, I was just beginning my journey on self-care and just like any person who is putting their all in a new chapter of their life, I was all in and going full force. Now, this post isn't saying that I'm done with that journey (nah bruh). This is where I get to solidify why I began this journey and deepen the foundation of this path I've been walking.
Just like anything I do with my life, I wanted to make sure my choices and my decisions were lined up with the Word of God, the lifestyle of Christ, and the will of God (this part must be determined by oneself and their relationship with God).
So I recently sat down and asked myself the question I began this post with. Where the heck in the Bible does God say, "self love all the way!" He doesn't use it word for word. In fact, the word self tends to come with a negative connotation in our faith.
Is self-love the perfect Christian thing to do?
No. There is no perfect Christian route to living the ideal Christian life because a perfect Christian doesn't exist. In fact, many of us see the love of self as the opposite of Christianity.
What is self-love?
When I googled this, the difficulty of finding a definition that is generic enough for an objection person was ridiculous. Instead, I checked out what many people consider this concept to be, and I enjoyed reading the different definitions the 11 Women shared on Bustle.
One of my favorite definitions was by Taylor (24 years old):
“To me, self-love is accepting that putting your needs first is a priority. This doesn’t mean you’re selfish; it means that you care enough about yourself to take your mental and physical health into account. This will allow you to take better care for the people around you. No one can perform self-love for you, so it’s important to be your own best friend.”
Self-love, defined by me is to allow yourself to meet yourself. Take in every turn and corner that makes up who you are. To face yourself in the most honest, compassionate, and vulnerable way possible. Then to decipher why those aspects exist and remove judgment on what makes you who you are. To speak your truth because you know your truth. Self-love is to make it your responsibility to care for yourself in both body, mind, and Spirit.
People do not seek counseling help unless they have a desire to be better off than they are. This desire to be happier is what Jesus meant by self-love. Therefore, self-love, so defined, is the foundation, not the aim, of counseling; indeed, it is the foundation of all human life. For without it[,] there is no motivation, and without motivation[,] there is no action, and if we do not act[,] we die.
BAM! You heard me, right! I believe that self-love is to prioritize your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth.
By these definitions, I believe that to tap into what it means to be a Christian and live a life based on self-love, one must deepen their faith and allow the Spirit of God to take them deeper into their relationship with Christ. By doing so and simultaneously taking care of ourselves physically (fitness and wellness) and psychologically, we are living a life that exhibits true, unconditional self-love.
Where in Scripture does self-love come up?
I haven't seen this concept being talked about word for word, but I believe we find traces of self-love in multiple people throughout the Bible, one being the main man, Jesus.
Looking back at the life of Christ, at a young age, he chose to put his relationship with God before his parents when he stayed behind in the synagogue. He was prioritizing his mission on Earth and what was most beneficial for him.
Jesus shows us again what it means to care for ourselves when he refused to do anything outside of the will of God. His love for his Father and us (his faith and lifestyle) seeps into his actions towards the teachers of the law over and over again.
'However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.'
The Lord even goes further when he allowed himself to be crucified. Confused? Think about it. The most selfless act of God, the moment God solidified our salvation through his unwavering love for all of us, he showed us what it means to care so much about the love of one's self and others.
Self-love = selflessness, not selfishness
Jesus said, our second greatest commandment is to love one another as we love ourselves. One cannot love others if one does not love themselves. BINGO! Self-love.
'Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. '
So have I changed my perception of self-love? No. If anything, asking myself these questions, praying beforehand, and discerning what I believe the Spirit of God says, I have now added a new level to my foundation which has created a firm ground for me to say: self-love is a necessity to following Christ.
I could go on and on, but for now, I'm going to exhibit some self-love and give myself some self-care by hitting the gym.
Until next time...