Say, “I love myself.” Right now. See how it gives you the absolute willies? It’s exceptionally uncomfortable to say that. Try looking in the mirror and saying that. Barf. It makes me think of the Stuart Smalley character from Saturday Night Live, and I just cannot take myself seriously. Cannot.
What does it EVEN MEAN to love yourself?
I give myself permission to take mommy-breaks. I always have. I’m very intentional about it.
I exercise and eat healthy foods.
I have hobbies.
I have dreams. Big dreams. That I do pursue.
I do the girly-girl pampering.
So…see…therefore, I love myself.
NO, I DON’T.
Pampering and mini-breaks do not constitute a love relationship with myself. While those are good and helpful and healthy to do, (please do them, mamas), it is not a form of self-loving my heart, my mind, my soul, my personality, my body, my spirituality, my sexuality, my everything.
The Bible makes it pretty clear to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Yet in faith arenas we are not truly taught how to love ourselves. I don’t know if in all my life attending church (Catholic and Evangelical churches), have I heard a message on just HOW to love myself.
Maybe once. Maybe.
The emphasis has always been on Loving Others. Which I am all about. Be giving, be generous, be thoughtful, serve, reach out to others. Yes. Yes. Yes. Times infinity. Let us all be about love opportunities to strangers, orphans, friends, family, the impoverished, the oppressed, neighbors, everyone.
However, martyr status is not the goal, to the detriment of our souls. Glennon Doyle Melton tweeted, “(We) must get to the point that ‘I never do anything for myself’ isn’t a badge of honor women wear. Martyrdom is not Brave or kind. It’s soul suicide.” (July 15, 2015)
I really thought that I was doing soul-care all these years by some of the things I mentioned, plus prayer, and bible study. I have NOT played martyr and volunteered all my time, space, and energy to others. I’ve been protective. Yay for me. I get a few points for caring for myself. And a few “negative points” for being a little selfish with my time, if Im truly honest.
I’ve said to myself, “I love myself. For sure. Because–I am not one of THOSE women who walk around somewhat negative, bitter, angry, scowling at the world, aloof, or highly guarded. THOSE hard women surely do not like nor love themselves much.” Forgive me people. I have so pre-judged, mis-judged, been a total hypocrite. Forgive me. Because all the while, I have not been loving myself either.
I beat myself up verbally inside my head. All the time.
The Body Bully has taken up residence in me for too long.
The Mommy Failure Bully loves to taunt me relentlessly with the ongoing film reel of mistakes I’ve made with Luke, Ryan and Kate.
The Inadequate Wife Bully spews and spits at me. And I just sit there accepting it all. I may wipe off the spit, but still I take it.
I’m kicking their asses out today.
No more criticism in, and criticism out.
More love in.
More love out.
If I love myself more, I will love my husband more.
If I love myself deeply, I will love my children more deeply.
If I love myself intentionally, I will love others intentionally.
If I truly love myself without conditions, I will kick perfectionism to the curb.
More love in, more love out.
HOW??? To be continued my friends…