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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Love Thyself

One of the first and most fundamental things we need to live a confident life, is to actually ‘Love Ourselves’.
Sounds simple, but not until God gradually began to reveal to me, just how far away from His idea of what truly loving myself was and the freedom that came with it, did I realise how little I knew of this love.

I also saw how my relationships were suffering as a result of this lack of love.
You see one of the greatest commandments Jesus gave was to “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”* and I had never really given much thought to the  …”as you love yourself” part.
I did not question how I was meant to show love to my fellow man, if I did not truly love myself.
Bottom line: How was I meant to give something that I did not have within?

I asked God by His spirit to teach me how to love myself and it has been a process through His GRACE, that has not only increased my confidence but has also helped me freely pour out love to others, because I was doing Love His way; unconditionally.

The love I am talking about is not the conceited, arrogant ‘self-love’ that is mainly rooted in self-centeredness. Nor although necessary, is it the nurturing type of self-love in which emphasis is placed on caring for your well-being.
The love that I am referring to sees an imperfect person full of flaws and still chooses to love them for who they really are and not what is seen.

I started to love myself like this, which consequently led to me loving my body and becoming more body confident and comfortable in the frame and figure I had been blessed with (notice how I now use the word ‘BLESSED’).

Loving myself was meant to be something that came naturally, but I had allowed lies and destructive words to stop the flow of something normal from taking place.
The layers of hurt, anger, pain and hatred that had built up over time, needed to be peeled away in order to get to the core of who I really was, so that the hidden flower could now begin to blossom. 

For years I tried to hide myself, stay in the shadows so I would not be noticed, because I feared what people thought of me or what comment they would make next. I became socially awkward and my slight introversion did not help, but when I changed my focus and started to intentionally disallow people’s thoughts of me or my body affect me, what I struggled a great deal with became insignificant.

I am not saying that I am there yet, but just looking at the above picture taken on a recent trip, I am reminded of how far I have come.
The irony is my body is not as snatched and prim and proper as it used to be, as
I now have deep stretch marks from my pregnancies, a little mum tum and my breasts do not sit the way they once did. Nevertheless, I love my body and myself a lot more now than before.

I am more appreciative of what I have because I now realise that my previous desire for another body/appearance was just showing my discontent in what God had said is wonderful.

A lot a people may not be able to relate to what I am saying, but for the few that do, I hope this helps you see that ‘Loving Thyself’ is attainable and also one of the best things you can do for yourself and those around you.

You need to start loving yourself now, because you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. So make your living worthwhile and do it confidently.

DISCLAIMER:
I am not condemning improving your physical appearance or enhancing your beauty in whatever form you choose. However, whatever you choose to do, do it from a place of love not hate.

Until next time,
Antoinette

*Mark 12:31


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