“Dear you, make peace with the mirror and watch your reflection change.” – Unknown
The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” I whole-heartedly agree with this scripture, but as I have counseled and spoken with people over the years, I have come to understand that many people do not truly or accurately love themselves at all. Therefore, this scripture in some cases may pose a slight problem or create major conflicts in their lives and in the lives of others.
Obviously (or at least in my opinion) that is not to say we start cutting that portion of the Bible out, however if we find ourselves in positions of influence, it is imperative that as we teach and encourage others to love in this way, we make sure they are first properly loving themselves.
Many of us have had semi-normal childhoods. We had one or two parents (or grandparents) that gave their best to our well-being, met most of our emotional and physical needs and overall we had a functional lifestyle. That said, there are also many that did not receive a functional life as children. Quite the opposite actually.
Dysfunction can come in many forms, but ultimately it is defined as, when the majority of essential needs go unmet most of the time. Imagine growing up in a home where this was the norm. Without some type of intervention along the way, this is a recipe for a warped view of love.
Even as adults, when our essential needs go unmet we become irritable, disconnected and weary. Imagine that lifestyle as an impressionable child. What happens to their ability to love and interpret love in a respectable and healthy way? It falls to the wayside quickly is what happens.
Now I realize that this does not apply to everyone. There are always anomalies, and special cases, but for those that it does apply to we must be cognizant not to flippantly throw scriptures at them and send them on their way, and then wonder why they continue to hit the same walls of brokenness.
Brokenness specifically in the form of making poor decisions in the area of relationships. We all know them, or perhaps it is you who I am speaking of. The he/she “bad guy” continues to enter your life with a different face and wreaks havoc in your world, for weeks, months or years at a time. Your love radar seems to be broken. Your best friends try to tell you, but you just cannot seem to connect the missing dots, and repeatedly think you found the “one” that is different.
For certain, a vicious cycle for those that have endured this way of living, but what if we could begin to understand why we go down this path and then choose to make better choices for ourselves? Is it even possible? Has too much time passed? Do we give up and simply accept, this was meant to be my story?
I cannot begin to address the level of complexity that exist with how one arrives at this place, therefore there is equally not one simple solution to prescribe a cure or remedy. What I do know and believe is love is the strongest force on the earth.
It (love) will cause one to travel across the globe to be with that one person. It (love) will give a mother supernatural strength to rescue her helpless child. It (love) will cause a father to place himself in-harms-way to provide for his children. For Christians it (love) is what caused Jesus to die on the cross. For most in the world it (love) is what encourages us to do the right thing by our fellow-man, even if only for a season or a moment.
So what about learning to love yourself first? What about getting a better or new definition of what love is supposed to look like for you, instead of accepting what you have received all these years? I like this version of what the Bible has to say about love. Why not take a look and see how it compares to how you love yourself today.
Perhaps it will cause you to finally see the brokenness and pain you have allowed to enter your heart and mind. Perhaps it will encourage you to chart a new path for yourself. A path filled with the hope and belief that you are worthy of something better. Perhaps it will encourage you to begin a new discovery of true love. Perhaps you will realize that today is the perfect day to make that discovery.