How many times have you heard these phrases?
“She just needs to love herself more.”
“Yeah, you’re having self-esteem issues because you don’t love yourself enough.”
If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard those ideas floating around a lot. And if you haven’t, keep listening. You will. It’s everywhere—music, movies, friend groups, even churches.
You might want to prepare yourself—because today, I’m here to talk about not loving ourselves.
When I picture what “love yourself” means, I see people, focused inward, looking out for themselves, doing whatever is best for them, and placing their worth in how great they feel about themselves.
That tends to be the world’s definition of loving yourself.
Love yourself more, and you’ll feel better . . . right? Wrong. Here’s why: as Jesus-followers, we’re not called to love ourselves more. We’re instructed to love Jesus and to love others.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19–21)
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:36–40)
When we love others, we’re focused outward—toward others. We place someone else’s interests before what we want or need.
When we put ourselves first, with loving ourselves as our first priority, we’re focused on what we want or need to ensure that we’re happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. That equals . . . selfishness, greed, and pride.
Not to mention that life will be a roller coaster if we rely on finding esteem in ourselves. (By the way, “esteem” just means admiration or respect.) One day I’m doing great, then the next day, I mess up and feel terrible! Our emotions really aren’t steady and trustworthy guides for this life.
Now there’s a caveat that we should address: You do need to evaluate your life and give yourself some boundaries. If we don’t take time to recharge, spending quiet time in prayer and digging into God’s Word, our human battery will be exhausted and eventually give up! So know your limits, but don’t allow yourself to shift into a selfish, “me first” mentality.
I believe that you should value your life.
I believe you should love the life God gave you.
I believe you should rejoice in the person God created you to be.
I believe you should realize that you are loved.
And that you should be confident and fearless in Jesus’ name.
You can do all that while loving others and putting them first! That’s how you can really love the person God made you to be—like Jesus did.
In the end, we as Christians can’t discover our worth by “loving ourselves more.” We discover our worth by digging into Scripture to see . . .
- Why God created us—to glorify Him through what we do (Eph. 2:10).
- What He says about us—that we’re loved (John 3:16).
- Who we are—His children (John 1:12).
- How He sees us—as His valuable heirs (Ps.139, Matt. 10:31, Rom. 8:16-17).
If we spent some time reading about how much God loves and values us, we would ditch the “self-love” and “self-esteem” talk and instead love and thank God for a life that we can dedicate to serving and honoring Him. Our worth would be found in Him—God-esteem, rather than self-esteem!
I’m curious to hear from you: have you ever tried to find value or worth in yourself only to realize that it didn’t fulfill you?
Have you spent time digging into what God says about you, then come out on the other side praising and thanking him for your worth? Have you realized that He created you to honor and glorify him?!?
I’d love to hear from you in the comment section!