February is all about Love. This month, leading up to Valentine’s Day, we will be talking about many different types of love. Today, we talk about self- love and self- care.
‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ Matthew 22: 37- 40 TPT
Most Christians (and many non- Christians) are aware of the two greatest commandments- Love God, and Love your Neighbour.
God created love and we love out of the abundant love He gives us (which he showed by sending His son to die for our sins)
Sounds straight forward, right?
What about “You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself“
Do you talk to your friends the way you talk to yourself?
Do you spend time with yourself (doing the activities that nurture you) as much as you spend with others?
Part of following God is getting into a place (body, soul, and spirit) where we can fully hear His voice and heed His Word.
I know that when I am stressed, tired, feeling overwhelmed, distracted and burned out I am NOT loving God with all my being (as per Matthew 22: 37- 40).
It is important for us to be good stewards of the resources God gave us.
We are entrusted to take care of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Physical– “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? “(1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV)
Mental- “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” (Romans 12:2 TPT)
Emotional- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
Spiritual- “But Jesus often slipped away from them and went into the wilderness to pray.” (Luke 5:16 TPT)
But, how do we take care of ourselves- body, soul, and spirit?
…Enter Self- Care
Self-care covers a lot of areas with regard to caring for yourself. It involves nurturing your body, soul and spirit. It focuses on building yourself up so that your internal resources don’t become depleted. Essentially, self-care is being as good to yourself as you would be to someone you care about. It requires you to show yourself some compassion and encourages you to be vulnerable with others, asking for help you when you need it. What doesn’t fall under the umbrella of self-care are self-destructive coping mechanisms such as using drugs, drinking, gambling or retail therapy. These things only make you feel good in the short-term
If you want to live a long and happy life, it’s crucial you look after your health and wellbeing. Self-care is how you ensure your mind and body are functioning as well as they can.
Some of the main benefits of self-care include:
- Improved physical and mental health
- You’ll feel more energized
- Improvement in self-esteem
- It helps to fight off disease
- You’ll be better able to help others
When you ensure your body has everything it needs, you’ll see a drastic improvement in your physical and mental health. It really helps to boost the immune system, fighting off illness and disease. Studies have revealed that self-care activities stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This basically means your body goes into rest mode, helping it to recharge and relax.
As self-care helps you to sleep better, this also leads to you feel more energized throughout the day. It also combats stress, which in turn can have all kinds of awesome benefits such as improvements in your relationships.
Common Self-Love (Self- Care) Obstacles People Face
When you are trying to practice self-love, you’re going to run into a few obstacles along the way. These can really derail your progress if you aren’t prepared. By being aware of the common obstacles, you can take steps to prevent them. So, let’s look at some of the most common obstacles people face when trying to practice more self-love.
You aren’t surrounded by positive, healthy relationships
A major obstacle to self-love is toxic people. If you are surrounded by people who drain your energy and have a negative outlook, you’re going to struggle to practice self-love.
Surround yourself with positive, healthy relationships. While all relationships go through hard times, for the most part they should lift you up and make you feel positively about yourself. So, if you have relationships which cause you more misery than happiness, now is the time to start taking a step back and focusing on healthier, happier relationships. After all, you’ll struggle to love yourself if you are surrounded by people who make you feel bad.
This also involves setting boundaries with others.
Feelings of guilt and selfishness
Another big barrier to practicing self-love is feelings of guilt and selfishness. It is common to feel like self-love is selfish. This can lead to feelings of guilt when you attempt to focus more on yourself.
Viewing self-care as a selfish act is unfortunately a common barrier. These days, we are made to feel like we should be able to do everything ourselves. Taking care of others is viewed as much more important than taking care of ourselves. However, the truth is that self-care isn’t selfish, it is necessary for our wellbeing.
Think about it, you can’t help others if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. There is a well-known saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you feel constantly tired, stressed out and physically or mentally unwell, you’re going to struggle to take care of others.
So, stop thinking self-care is selfish and start realizing that it is necessary for a healthy, happy, and balanced individual.
You need to understand the importance of self-love. It isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity for your health and wellbeing. It certainly isn’t selfish so you absolutely shouldn’t feel guilty for trying to love yourself more.
Needing to be perfect
Perfectionism is a major obstacle to self-love. While a little perfectionism can be a good thing, especially in business, it can also lead to disappointment, frustration, and unhappiness.
When you feel like everything must be perfect, you aren’t going to be happy when you fall short. So, try and let go of your need to be perfect. Understand what draws your perfectionism and identify your triggers. You can learn how to take your thoughts captive. Remember, nobody is perfect, not even you!
Not understanding how to love yourself
Finally, another barrier is not understanding how to love yourself. Many people don’t fully understand what self-love means. They mistakenly think it is about doing things you want to do, rather than what you need.
Self-love isn’t just about treating yourself; it is about making sure you are fulfilling your needs. For example, if you want to lose weight, indulging in junk food isn’t going to help, even though it might be brining temporary joy. Instead, a healthier diet and exercise routine is considered a form of self-love as it helps you to become healthier and fulfils the body’s needs. Here are are some simple, imperfect ways to add self-care to your day.
These are just some of the common obstacles to self-love you need to be aware of. By being aware, you’ll be able to figure out how to overcome them if they do arise. Finding people, you trust and who build you up is a big part of being able to practice self-love. However, don’t forget to be your own personal cheerleader too.
Reminder: God is the best encourager ever!
Here is a video to bless and encourage you:
Keep Bloomin’ in Him!