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How Do I Love Others When The Person I Hate Most Is Myself?

“Having a low opinion of yourself is not modesty. It’s self-destruction.” – Bobby Sommer

2008. 2009. The years that will always haunt me. Los Angeles and my dreams faded away as I drove east to my hometown of Charlotte, not knowing that a return to the City of Angels was not in the cards for the foreseeable future.

Upon returning home, I got a job as a barista at a Starbucks. All of my childhood friends were gone and my anxiety became worse than it had ever been. I attended therapy each week, where I would spend an hour talking about how much I hated myself…I had failed my dreams, I was living in constant fear, and my life felt meaningless.

The person I hated most was me.

Drives that would take others 30 minutes would sometimes take me three hours due to my fears. I would eventually get out of my car, drenched in sweat and a head full of self-directed profanity, telling myself that I was a complete loser. Anxiety had followed me most of my life, but I had become an addict to my disorder in my 20’s – the person I hated who stared back at me in every mirror.

How was I ever going to serve others out of love again when I didn’t even love myself?

“Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.” – Charles Spurgeon

As a guy who had followed Jesus for years, I had always heard that the world and Satan were against me…What I was never taught was that I was more dangerous to myself than anyone else.

You may not believe in Jesus, but you don’t need to follow him to comprehend the meaning behind the following verses in Scripture.

Paul the Apostle was a “righteous” man before he met Jesus. He followed the Jewish laws, persecuted those who opposed Judaism, and was passionate for self-justification. Yet, after meeting the perfect Jesus, here are the words uttered by this very saint:

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” – Romans 7:24

What a wretched man…

Even the most honored followers of Jesus had once despised themselves in the face of their own brokenness. Yet, hating themselves wasn’t the end of their story. In the following verse, Paul reminds us what he gained in the blood of Christ:

“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to Godʼs law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Romans 7:25

The God of love and grace brought life and love back to the human spirit, reminding us that we are beloved to the Beginning and the End – the Father God of eternity. If such a great God would love such fallen creatures, who are we to hate ourselves?

“The victorious Christian neither exalts nor downgrades himself. His interests have shifted from self to Christ.” – A.W. Tozer

The day I began to love myself arrived over a cup of coffee with a friend. He said to me, “Andrew, your Daddy loves you.” Tears filled my eyes and love filled my broken spirit. Hate for myself had filled my heart for far too long. It was time to embrace love for the creature known as “me”.

Have you ever found hate within your soul for yourself?

You are loved by the Creator of all things. Not only that, but your life holds meaning to the world around you. Your life is valuable, even if you don’t believe in Jesus or God. You are not worthless scum; you are a mosaic – a broken, yet beautiful work of art. Your life is meaningful, even if you can’t feel it right now. Our feelings don’t determine what is true.

“We’re all deeply flawed and even more deeply loved by God.” – Bob Goff

You are loved. You are loved. YOU. ARE. LOVED.

With such great love that flows to you like an uncontainable river, who are you to hate yourself?

We must love ourselves first before we can love others like ourselves. Isn’t it time to begin loving yourself?

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