Why Self-love Improves Your Health and Is it Biblical?
… you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord, -Leviticus 19:18
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:28-31
The above scriptures have guided my thinking about loving God and self-love. I have come to realize that loving yourself, honors and glorifies God. Why? Because self-love enables us to truly worship God with our very selves. What would happen if you didn’t love yourself? Anxiety, emotional unrest and spiritual demise happens and you cannot love others or God as we are called to. Your very body houses the Holy Spirit.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. -I Corinthians 6:19
One of the things that many people are overwhelmed with today is anxiety. Let’s look at anxiety a little more closely.
Dealing with anxiety: Tossed in chaos and finding your center We live in a time when anxiety is higher in many people than we’ve ever seen it. Many of us feel tossed in chaos and can’t find our center. Everyday, we are being met with more sickness and bad news. There is nothing like the feeling of being lost in a sea of chaos. You toss and turn at night. Your heart pounds. You feel sweaty. You cannot sleep. Everyone is asleep but you. Whether you are fresh out of college and don’t know where your first job will be, or ready to retire, an anxious mind disturbs every fiber of your being. You feel like you are being attacked every day. When trauma and loss have occurred your feel even more chaotic and anxious inside. This leads to unprocessed emotion that can create low self- esteem and feeling unloved. And that can cause anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle and you cannot seem to find your center, where you find love. Some of you many wonder: is this normal? What’s wrong with me? Well, nothing is wrong. You’re having a human experience and your spirit lives in that experience. It doesn’t mean you are stupid, missed the boat, demon possessed, or your parents did this to you and you will never be ok. It doesn’t even mean that someone did something to you that has damaged you forever. Many people have had trauma and loss that leads to losing themselves. And everyone gets anxiety at some point in their lives, even spiritual gurus. The question is: Does your anxiety control you or do you control it. What do you do to calm yourself? How do you find you center and balance so that you can get the rest you need and trust that all is working for your good? The good news is that there is a way out and it has a lot to do with what we choose to dwell on. It is a decision that one makes to rise up and conquer anxiety with knowing and trusting the core of who you really are. Trust that you are created to be powerful and can manage adversity when it comes. Take a moment…define anxiety. What role does anxiety play in your life?
Five Steps to Self- Care Everyday
1. Change your thinking, change your life.
· You are not a loser or destitute, but an abundant child of God in every way.
· New ways to cope with feeling funky such as singing, listening to or dancing to praise and worship music, practice gratitude.
· Be aware of where you are feeling lower energy, exhaustion and overwhelmed. Is it your job? A relationship that drains you? Staying up too late? Eating too many carbs?
· Figure out what you need to combat feeling sorry for yourself and exhaustion.
2. Self- love is not selfish. It is learning to care for yourself through introspection and taking action. When you care for yourself, you can care for others. Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” That word ‘rest’ means shalom or wholeness and peace. So…
· Be gentle with yourself.
· Feel what you feel.
· Handle your anger for the best outcome
· Know you are loved and surrounded by loving energy
3. Setting good boundaries: No is a beautiful word.
· Why do we feel bad when we say no to other’s requests? Even Jesus went away to a mountain to get away from the demands of his healing ministry.
· How do you say no gracefully?
· Set boundaries with love.
· Make a date with yourself and do something fun!
4. Your environment: find space to nurture yourself.
· Find a space that is just for you to meditate, pray, reflect.
· De-cluttering to create more soul space.
· Know what drains and raises your energy in your home.
· Environmental greening can increase energy. Try several plants where you sleep and in your living spaces.
5. Tune into your Body
· Body scans. Where do you feel pain or tension? What is that part of the body telling you?
· Cardio exercise in moderation. Weights for strengthening. Ask your doctor before beginning.
· Yoga or stretching moves and breathing.
· Music and Dance moves to release tension.
These are a few ideas to keep yourself rested and in good shape. God’s people need to be responsible for their health so that we can fight the good fight and endure for the days, weeks and months ahead.
Peace in the Light of Epiphany,