Love yourself? I grew up in a very conservative, Christian home. A wonderful home. I could not wish for a better up-bringing. But the thought to “love yourself” was not really something that was a prominent philosophy. To love God was the ultimate. And indeed, it still is. However, sometimes I wonder, if in the process of loving God and others, and just generally trying to be better people, do we forget about ourselves?
It’s true: Luke 10:27-28 says, “And he answered, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (King James Version)
But I want to focus on the part where it says, “and thy neighbor as thyself.” I have read it another way in a paraphrased edition: “…love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Which leads me to believe that you cannot begin to love your neighbor correctly, unless, you first love yourself.
The Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard put if this way, “Above all, do not forget your duty to love yourself.”
If I truly love and value myself, I will take care of myself: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I will eat better, get some exercise, think positively, and generally do things that will make me happy. Then I can go out and be a better person for my neighbors, my family, my friends and society at large.
So what are you going to do to “love yourself” this week? Remember, it is “your duty.”