Self love – a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that supports spiritual, mental, social, emotional and physical growth.
I’ve always felt conflicted with the term ‘self-love’. At its core the focus is on one’s own well-being and happiness. I would often ask myself: by focussing on self-love, am I putting myself before Christ? However, I’ve come to realise [through Scripture] that God wants us to love ourselves. Having a successful faith life starts with learning to love ourselves. This does not mean you are worshiping yourself or being narcissistic. Instead, you are seeing yourself in God’s perfect image. In this day and age, it is difficult not to compare ourselves to others or the idea of what we should look like. God designed us and made us perfectly the way we are, and He loves us just that way.
The idea that humans have inherent worth is one that is affirmed throughout Scripture. God bestowed dignity upon us when he created us in His image [see Genesis 1:26-27]. It is His image in us that gives us value—value that exists apart from our appearance, life experience, or contribution to society. This is why the Bible so clearly calls us to protect, defend, and care for all of life, because all people are made in the image of God.
Healthy self-love begins with an accurate view of who we are. Psalm 139 leaves no doubt that we are special. The well-known verse reads.. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well’. This verse expresses that our traits, abilities and gifts were made fearfully, wonderfully and perfectly. A reminder that we all have something unique about us and that makes up who we are. Whenever you feel worthless or even begin to dislike yourself, remember that you are God’s precious creation and one of a kind. All of the qualities that make up who you are were pre-ordained by a thoughtful God with a big plan.
And so to answer the question is self-love biblical? 100% Yes. God loves us. We accept His love by accepting ourselves. We see our flaws and submit them to Him. We do not love ourselves at the expense of obeying God. We do not allow self-love to turn into self-focus, making a God of ourselves or placing our desires above all else. After all, Jesus came to give us life [John 10:10 …I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full]. By choosing to love ourselves, we are accepting the fullness of His gift.