Have you ever had someone say that to you? "Oh you just need to love yourself more!" and you go away and just scratch your head. What does that really mean? Don't we all love ourselves? Don't we all want the best for ourselves? Don't be love ourselves naturally because we are all self interested in our life over others?
I've even asked people, "what do you mean by that? Do I need to go an get a pamper treatment at the spa? Give myself a night off cooking? Go on a holiday? Get my hair done? Drink champagne more? Meditate more?"
So I ask the giver of this profound advice, "but what does that mean? Love myself more?"
The advice giver always just shrugs their shoulders. They're just repeating this generic feel good statement.
I think what they are really talking about is SELF ACCEPTANCE.
There's a beautiful quote I found recently which sums this up:
'YOU'RE BLESSED WHEN YOU'RE CONTENT WITH JUST WHO YOU ARE - NO MORE, NO LESS. THAT'S THE MOMENT YOU FIND YOURSELF THE PROUD OWNER OF EVERYTHING THAT CAN'T BE BOUGHT."
(Matthew 5:5 MSG version).
So then what does SELF ACCEPTANCE MEAN?
1. Being patient with yourself.
"Being patient with other people can be difficult. But often we find it more difficult to be patient with OURSELVES.
2. Measuring ourselves against realistic expectations and goals
We have for ourselves high expectations and lofty goals. Do we give ourselves goals we wouldn't expect others to achieve and then be our own worst critic when we don't achieve them?
3. Dealing with the elephant in the room - Instant gratification versus God's timetable.
We want to accomplish things NOW. NOW. If not NOW, TOMORROW! All of them.
"We want our lives to unfold according to our own timetables, not how God/the universe has planned for us.
Self acceptance is the stepping stone to self love, which means acknowledging we are living out God's plan and timetable.
He has a plan that might be different to ours because He knows us and He loves us,and wants the best for us.
If you unpack these three points, the whole idea of self acceptance all boils down to a single word. Patience.
The bible and other books of wisdom speaks a lot about patience. Proverbs 16:32 teaches us that "patience is better than strength". Patience is viewed as the companion of wisdom. Particularly as we dealing with whatever hand is dealt out to us no matter how hard we plan and try.
One layman version of this Proverb says"
"Moderation is better than muscle.
Self control is better than political power.
Make your motions and cast your votes,
but God has the final say"
So, "Loving yourself" might be as easy as doing some "mirror work".
Each morning, remembering the message: We must be patient with all people, beginning with that particular person who stares back at us each time we gaze into the mirror.
TRY IT AND SEE THE RESULTS. DO YOU 'MIRROR WORK' EACH DAY.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SAY 'I ACCEPT AND LOVE MYSELF. I AM CONTENT WITH WHO I AM, NO MORE, NO LESS. I AM PATIENT WITH MYSELF. I ACKNOWLEDGE GOD'S HIGHER PLAN FOR ME UNRAVELS ACCORDING TO HIS TIMETABLE, NOT MINE."
The author acknowledges "365 Daily Devotions for Payers for Women", day 279 for some key ideas and thoughts in this article.