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By Love Transformed, by R.T. Kendall

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8 Requirements for Learning to Love Yourself

When we truly receive God's love in our hearts, we step into the arena where loving ourselves is possible. The Bible reminds us that "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

Father God is the initiator of love. He broadcasts who He is as love to us with an invitation to love Him back. The fruitfulness of our love-relationship with God relies on our hearts receiving the love transmitted from heaven.

We Must First Learn to Receive Love

Loving ourselves is predicated on receiving the unending love that God has for us. We cannot love God until we have first received it from Him and allowed that love to permeate the way we see ourselves. The love God pours out empowers us to see ourselves through that love. Therefore, we can know we have plugged into God's love when we are able to love ourselves properly.

We cannot love God until we have first received it from Him and allowed that love to permeate the way we see ourselves.

But what does it actually mean to live in healthy self-love? Many are struggling with what loving yourself means, so it's time we begin to see the picture.

1. Loving yourself allows you to see yourself the way God sees you. In thoughts, words and actions, you are able to relate to yourself from a motivation of love. You are at peace to be yourself because this is the environment self-love creates. Your pattern of living flows from a pure reflection of God's love for you. You get a sense of how God sees you; therefore, you live your life based on that perception. 

2. Loving yourself involves unconditional acceptance. There is no way to move forward with a healthy life without first accepting yourself in love, right where you are, no strings attached. Love comes in with an invitation for healthy relationship. Many people are trained to think, "I will love myself when ..." But this is not loving. Loving yourself calls for unconditional self-acceptance.

Loving yourself defines how you find acceptance in life, communicating you are accepted right where you are. It keeps you rooted in a sense of belonging not based on merit or performance. Whether you are surrounded by a crowd of affirming people or sitting quietly in solitude, self-love keeps you satisfied in the arms of God's acceptance.

3. Loving yourself establishes your worth and value in a healthy way. Loving yourself sets the tone for the way you establish your worth in life. When you love yourself properly, you gain a healthy sense of value based on the simplicity of being loved.

Loving yourself as God does grounds your worth in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gave of His life for you as a love-gift. His death and resurrection gave you the opportunity to become Father God's treasured child.

Loving yourself has nothing to do with your roles or achievement, but in simply accepting the invitation to be God's kid. Performance cannot enhance the love a Father has for His child. So growing in self-love is founded upon the ability of a child learning to receive love.

4. Loving yourself is built on kindness and patience. Based on 1 Corinthians 13, I believe patience and kindness are the main pillars of love. They make way for the rest of love's power to manifest. Kindness is what love gives out. Patience is what love can handle.

Self-love manifests best when you engage the pillars of love, patience and kindness toward yourself. Love is patient and is kind. Being immersed in self-love involves being patient and kind in all your thoughts and actions towards yourself.

5. Loving yourself is not based on your circumstances. In fact, the more challenging circumstances become, the more you need to love yourself. Otherwise anger, contempt, self-accusation and self-hate will scream in your thoughts all day long. Love silences the power of those voices.

When you have self-love, you are able to engage in the power of love whether other people love you or not. Your self-esteem and identity are not hinged on every act of others. If they happen to extend love to you in an authentic way, that's a bonus to the love you already possess from God.

This does not imply that loving yourself ignores relationship. That's not self-love. In fact, loving yourself enhances connection, because it releases you from many relationship hang-ups that are based on self-love's absence.

When I love myself, hardships lose their power over me, and relationships become less complicated.

6. Loving yourself cultivates a healthy acceptance of your flaws. Self-love puts all our struggles and weaknesses into the right perspective. It even puts sin in the right perspective. Love doesn't ignore sin. It covers it and creates an atmosphere whereby sin can be healed and powerfully eradicated. 

When you love yourself, there is no need to obsess over those areas many people hide every day. Instead, you can affirm who you are and be authentic. Love frees you to be yourself without shame, eliminating the fear of exposure and condemnation. Healthy self-love allows you to live accepted, safe and at peace in your own skin.

When you operate in healthy self-love, affirming what God says about you becomes a byproduct. Self-love says, "I choose to love what God loves. He loves me! So therefore, I love myself." 

7. Loving yourself has a lot to do with self-compassion. When you learn to love yourself, you give to yourself what you would often extend to someone you love dearly. Many people live kindly towards others but never give that level of kindness to themselves. They may exercise patience with others but rarely live in that dimension of patience when they look in the mirror. [This is how] people burn out in relationships. They've been living and giving from an empty tank.

Loving yourself satisfies the deep longing of your heart while establishing a powerful reservoir of compassion to pour out to others.

8. Loving yourself allows you to look in the mirror and like what you see. This is by far the most challenging for so many, and I can relate. For most of my life, looking at a picture of myself or catching a glance in the mirror were irritating experiences. No one taught me that seeing myself with kind eyes was incredibly important to my health and sanity.

When you don't love yourself, you become trained to see yourself with an altered perception that is negative. Your flaws become so magnified, you see things even those around you do not notice.

When you do not love yourself, you become trained to see yourself with an altered perception that is negative.

Yet one of the most powerful ways I can engage loving myself right away is to look in the mirror and intentionally look at myself with eyes that are kind and patient. If you are a believer, you carry the God of love inside you. Ask Him to give you eyes of love when you see yourself, so you can see you as He sees you. {eoa}

Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full-time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including, teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, authoring books, leading and mentoring. Mark's deepest love is his family: his wife Melissa, son Maximus and daughter Abigail. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many forms of media, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. His deepest call involves equipping people to live as overcomers. Through understanding inside-out transformation, Mark's message involves getting to the root of issues that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day-to-day peace. He is passionately reaching his world with a transforming message of love, healing and freedom. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and Melissa founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for his teachings, writing and broadcasts that are designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation. 

For the original article, visit markdejesus.com.

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