Learning how to love yourself

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Is love something that we are born knowing how to do?  Is love really a choice?

I learned late in life that writing is a lot about learning how to edit, and this is exactly what I’m doing to do in this post.  It started as a post about learning how to love, period.  But now it is a post about learning how to love oneself because this is something I feel a lot of people fail to do.

I grew up most of my life believing love was something natural, something we were born conditioned to do.  And I believed even more strongly that the ability to love was not a choice.  I didn’t love my family because I choose to love, I loved them because I just couldn’t feel anything other than love for them.  Now that I’ve grown up, somewhat, I’ve come to some sort of conclusion.  Loving someone isn’t simply a choice or not a choice.  I know this because sometimes I force myself to show love to people, this is me making a choice.  But there have been times when I’ve been so hurt that all I’ve wanted to do is hate someone, but still I found myself loving them.

There are times when loving people feels so hard.  My mom will say or do something that upsets me and the idea of showing love in that situation seems impossible.  There are times when I find it really hard to love myself.  It doesn’t make sense but sometimes the most hurtful things are not said by strangers, they are thought by ourselves.  We fail to recognize the power and authority held in words, even when these words are said to ourselves.  The bible tests to this fact as well.

Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

In the above verse we are taught that life and death are in the power of our tongue!  This doesn’t just apply to what we say to people we love, this is found in the words that we tell ourselves.  The devil is a liar.  To anyone who has ever thought that they were meaningless, that their lives were meaningless or that they are alone- do not believe that lie.  Your body is the temple of God!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

This is how precious we are!  And we are never truly alone in this world, never at all.  The amazing thing about God is that even if everyone we ever love leaves us, we always have him.  This is something we can put our hope and trust in regardless of circumstance.

I mentioned this in passing earlier but love can also not feel like a choice.  I find myself unwilling to let go of some friendships because regardless of pain I may have felt, I still love that person.  With the same token, sometimes it make feel like we don’t have a choice in how we feel.  Although I believe this is somewhat true- we always have a choice. We may not be able to dictate the way we feel, but we can choose the way we act on these feelings.  This is even more true in regards to how we respect ourselves.  Please, love yourself enough to respect yourself.  If you are feeling hurt by someone or something, remove yourself from that situation.  And if you are hurting yourself, please learn the value held in your life.

The saddest thing for me to think about is the fact that so many people fail to see how amazing they are.  Those people who can be told time and time again that they are beautiful but fail to see it!  If you are someone like that, please just take a second look.  Give yourself a second chance.  Because you are valuable and you are loved.  I can guarantee it.

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What makes you beautiful?

I researched long and hard about this.  I wanted to know to an exact science; what exactly composed a perfect face.  Could it be perfect facial symmetry?  Was it the correct distance of eyes from one’s forehead?  Was beauty something that could be calculated and more importantly, is beauty something that can be bought?

I could never have been so wrong.

In the midst of all of this I found written on the inside of my friend’s bible the following verse,

“1 Peter 3:3-4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead it should be of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s eyes.”
I think you demean beauty by limiting it to the structure of your face.  Because anyone can be born with a pretty face, but being beautiful means something much more.

I believe that when someone is truly beautiful, every feature of their face is illuminated by their smile.  That when someone is a happy person, there’s this glow inside of them that makes them look 100% better than they could ever look like with a frown.

Your face can never be perfect.  I doubt that even the beautiful face in the picture above is really and truly perfect.  I see makeup and tweezed eyebrows.  But imperfections are what make us unique.  Imperfections make us who we really are.
I remember telling these two twins I thought they were so beautiful and having them say to me that their nose was ugly, that it literally looked like a witches nose.  What they failed to realize is that the distinct appearance of their nose is what made me find their face so beautiful in the first place.  Their faces weren’t perfect, but they were beautiful.

Proverbs 31: 30 reads ” Charm is deceptive, beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the lord is to be praised.”

Beauty is fleeting.  Isn’t that crazy?  And isn’t it so very true?  Looking back on how greatly we weigh beauty, isn’t it all a bit foolish?

There is no formula for beauty.  There is no equation one must follow to be seen as beautiful.  But maybe there are so many more beautiful things we fail to notice while aspiring towards perfection.

Like those distressed pictures of people so happy you can’t help but feel the joy oozing from them and smirk.

Like when you find someone who just understands you so well and you can’t imagine how you ever lived life without them before.  Be it a friend, a family member or a significant other.

Or a love so magnificent that even death could not hold him down.

Now that is what I call beautiful.