By: Grace Livingston
I haven’t always liked myself. Actually, there was a season where I hated myself. Maybe there’s a chance I’m not alone in that. Partially because we are hypercritical and partially because we are hard to forgive ourselves. Striving for perfection and losing a comparison game – that’s a dangerous combo. Maybe you have done things that could make a case as to why you aren’t happy with yourself. I know I can. The worst thing we could do? Stop loving yourself and then not change.
I’m not big into the whole “10 steps to be a better person” kind of thing. I don’t just want to be a better person, I want to be proud of who I am. By no means, would I ever be perfect, but I want the Grace of today to be slightly better than the Grace of yesterday. Instead I found myself being the Grace of today defining herself by the mistakes of yesterday.
So how do you go from being down on yourself to loving the person you see in the mirror? I don’t just mean loving how you look (even though that is important), I mean loving your core, how you treat people, and how to respond in hard times. I found that when I was selfish, treated my body unhealthy, and started running (fast) from the things that needed to be faced and changed, I didn’t respect the person I became. So I started with something simple. I started making an effort to love people.
If we are being honest, I’m naturally selfish. It takes a conscious effort for my human heart to put others first when it is easy not to, or to consider feelings of those around me when my own are hurt. But I decided to be able to love myself, I would try and love others better.
I started to write words to build others up, to smile more at strangers, and to invest more in those around me.
Something cool happened, I started believing those own words I wrote about myself, smiled at myself in the mirror and took the time to invest in my own spiritual, mental, and physical health. By no means am I great at it, but I’m getting better at loving others. In return, I learned – Loving people is the best way to learn to love yourself.
It may seem selfish that your motivation to help others is to make yourself feel better, but I don’t think we can love ourselves fully until we understand how important it is to love those around us with effort. Loving others can be effortless internally, but to externally show it takes practice. So if you don’t like the person you see in the mirror, if your attitude is bringing others down, or if you feel like you’ve been having a bad day for about 365 days in a row, I challenge you to make a little effort to love others everyday. Offer to do that errand for someone because they’re busy, text someone something encouraging out of the blue, go volunteer.
As we head into this new year, how beautiful would it be if we intentionally loved others and through that learned to love ourselves. What if we stopped criticizing and started uplifting? My guess would be that we’ll start to see ourselves in a more positive light and that maybe 2017 would be a much gentler place if we learned to do that.
WHAT ARE SOME SMALL WAYS YOU INTENTIONALLY SHOW OTHERS YOU LOVE THEM? COMMENT BELOW!