Here are some starter questions that can help us begin and continue the journey of loving ourselves and reimagining what that looks like.
Musiq Soulchild was on to something when he sang to us more than two decades ago about love and using love’s name in vain. Even 14-year-old me knew there was substance there as I belted the lyrics with conviction.
But when you stop and think about it, he was right. Love is often taken lightly and uttered casually without acknowledging the weight and depth that it carries. The breadth of love isn’t always considered, either. Too often, and to our detriment, love is only discussed in the context of our proximity to and relationships with other people.
My question, though, is how can we fully and properly love others if we do not first love ourselves? And do we even know how we want to be loved and what loving ourselves could look like?
I saw a tweet not too long ago that got me thinking about those questions:
There’s a series of sermons wrapped up in this topic of loving ourselves. For some, loving yourself requires unlearning harmful beliefs and destructive words that have been ingrained in your thinking. For everyone, self-love is the kind of soul work that is a daily process and a lifetime journey.
It requires us to settle some things and to be honest with ourselves. But how do you create space for honest conversations with yourself? If you need a place to start, here are some questions you might ask and even write down:
Do I know how much God, the author and source of love, loves me?
Does my capacity to receive God’s love change based on my mood, emotions or actions?
Can I receive that love today, solely based on the fact that God loves me unconditionally?
Do I believe that I’m worthy of God’s love?
Do I believe that I’m worthy of giving and receiving love from myself?
What is my love language? Has it changed? (You can take a short quiz to find out.)
I feel most loved when _______.
What’s one practical way that I can gently show myself love?
When was the last time I affirmed myself using life-giving words?
Can I forgive myself for ______ and start the healing journey?
One thing I love about myself is ______.
These are simply starter questions that can help us begin and continue the journey of loving ourselves and reimagining what that looks like. The way I love myself as a 34-year-old mother, wife and workplace manager, who is still quarantining, is completely different from how 22-year-old me loved myself straight out of college.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over this past year, it’s how to love myself by listening to my body, slowing down, unpacking why I feel the way I do and what else might be lingering behind a thought. We owe it to ourselves to make time for self-reflection, introspection and just time to be still.
My hope for you today, and every day, is that you embrace and truly love the self you’re with.