A few days ago, I was having a conversation with a couple of ladies about the rise in the rates of cosmetic surgery among women in Nigeria, and as these discussions tend to go, there were arguments for and against the idea that if you’re not happy with a part of your body, there’s a quick fix to change it.
One of the ladies asked why the women who weren’t happy with their bodies didn’t go the route of proper dieting, daily exercise routine, and discipline into getting the body the way they desired it, as opposed to a quick fix, which is highly risky. While the conversation was still ongoing, with the pros and the cons being heavily debated, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “How about you just love yourself?” How about you just love yourself? And as I repeated that phrase out loud, I saw something spark in some of the women’s eyes.
Listen, we live in a world where as women we’re told we must look a certain way, act a certain way, smile a certain way and even dress a certain way. We’re under so much pressure (a lot of which is self-induced) to be this “Perfect Barbie” with a small waist, a big bum, perky boobs and a flat tummy. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m an advocate of being a proper woman: dressing properly and behaving properly. I am an ex-beauty queen after all, but underneath these external expectations is this fundamental idea of Loving Yourself.
What does it mean to love yourself?
It’s to truly look at yourself: body, mind, soul and spirit, and appreciate your uniqueness. It is seeing yourself as God sees you and being able to say, like the Psalmist, I praise you, Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. How wonderful are your works, of which I am one, and that I know very well (cf Psalm 139:14). That’s right! You are a wonderful work of God because simply put, God doesn’t make rubbish – let that sink in for a minute!
It means stopping the comparisons and the derogatory words we use, consciously or unconsciously, to describe ourselves and other women. It means deliberately changing the negative thoughts we have about ourselves into positive ones.
It means crafting affirmations about ourselves and declaring these words over ourselves daily. I love Songs of Solomon. Talk about making a woman feel good! 😊 How beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! (Song of Solomon 4:1), and Solomon goes on through the rest of the chapter to just extol the beauty of his bride. Well, guess what? You are the bride of Christ, so just rest in His presence and allow God extol your beauty.
Loving yourself means taking definite steps to surround yourself with influences that celebrate and encourage you to love yourself better. For some people, this may mean you have to do an audit of your social media accounts, for example, to see what kind of content you’re allowing into your space.
For some other people, this may mean stepping back from certain friendships or relationships that tend to make you feel worse about yourself. This is not about keeping offence. This is just about realizing that not everyone was made to be in your sacred space. For some other people, this may mean streamlining some of the shows you watch or the books you read, or the kind of website content you consume.
It means treating yourself so much better: removing yourself from toxic environments and relationships, eating better, sleeping better, drinking more water, taking better care of your skin, including exercise in your usual routines, minimizing sources of great and/or constant stress in your life. It may also mean going on a spa date with yourself – getting a facial, massage, a manicure or a pedicure.
It means spending more time with people you love and who love and celebrate you in return. It means getting yourself a solid circle of women who are walking the same path with you. I believe Amos 3:3 doesn’t just refer to marriage but to just about any kind of relationship.
I usually tell people that one of my biggest blessings from God are the amazing sisters He has surrounded me with. He personally hand-picked every member of my inner circle and I am so blessed to have these amazing women that I love with all my heart and who love me, pray with and for me and who can also hold me accountable and call me out in a lot of love (and vice-versa!). Who’s in your inner circle?
Loving yourself means spending more time with yourself. Very few people enjoy their own company. The reason some of us don’t love ourselves is we don’t know ourselves. We don’t know or understand what makes us tick, what our triggers are, what makes us happy, sad or even what we truly want or desire.
We think we are complex; we think our needs are complex and that some things are just impossible for us because we haven’t spent much time getting to know who we really are. Loving yourself means understanding your love language and being deliberate about feeding it, as well as communicating how best you receive and give love to those in your inner circle.
It means spending time with God – this is the first and most important step to loving yourself. If you develop a truly intimate, love-relationship with your Lord and Lover, you will start to see Him in you and He will show you how to love you. He will show you patterns in your behavior that speak to you not loving yourself and He will help you change those negative patterns and habits into positive ones that support what you’re trying to do.
On some days, He will send you love notes – like you will just clearly know, without a shadow of doubt, that this is Him saying, I love you so much my dear daughter. Every journey is easier, clearer and more enjoyable when you’re walking with God. Don’t miss out on that.
Darling, you aren’t here by accident. You aren’t here just because God had some “spare clay” that He needed to get rid of. He thought of you specifically. He formed your innermost parts and He knit you together in your mother’s womb because He wanted you to love Him as only you can, and He wanted you to create an impact on this earth as only you can.
He loves you with all the “force” of God as if you were the only one in the whole wide world – now that’s a whole lot of love. Don’t let the noise of society drown out your unique sound or prevent you from living the best possible life you can live for God, as a response to His Love.
I love and celebrate you very much!
Written By: Warrior B