I’d like to share an experience that taught me why we need to learn how to love ourselves. I believe it was 2nd grade when I got my ears pierced and discovered I couldn’t wear pierced earrings. In fact this funny looking scar, I later learned was a keloid, formed and it was a sight indeed. I remember feeling shame that I couldn’t wear earrings like everyone else. Someone teased me on the playground, and I was heartbroken. My parents knew I was self-conscious about my scars, so they taught me how to see my beauty. You may be wondering why I am choosing to talk about being teased in 2nd grade and how it can make today any better. In that very vulnerable moment, I learned one of the most valuable lessons about life and love. You must learn how to love yourself and embrace your scars.
We have created a culture where we base our ideal life on cultural norms. Get married at age 25. Have children by age 26 (27 is pushing it). Have the perfect career and balance a family. Have your life figured out! The list goes on and on. Trying to keep up can be overwhelming. Many of us structure our lives to receive acceptance from others. When we don’t receive it, we feel that something is wrong with us. We beat ourselves up for lessons and experiences that make us unique. Our failures. Our lessons learned. Moments where we didn’t get what we wanted but realized what we had was enough. Times where we learned that people are fallible and make mistakes. Moments where we experienced criticism or shame. Even though we are adults, there can be residual playground behavior in our lives. People talk about us and make judgments. We can’t control their conversations, but we can decide to accept who we are. Remember everything God created is good (including you). Freedom comes when you learn to love yourself.
Psalm 139:14 reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” This means when God created you; He found someone to love. He fell in love with you. When you embrace His love for you, rejection by others pales in comparison. When you accept He loves you, you stop striving to be valuable. You realize that you are.
My scars never went away. These scars are visible, but my beauty isn’t determined by pierced earrings. There are options, and clip-on earrings look fabulous on me. I learned to embrace this flaw, one of many, and choose to see my beauty. I may have scars, but I’m not damaged. Your life might not be a “fairy tale.” Most lives aren’t. However, I challenge you today to take a good look in the mirror and know the person looking back at you is worthy of love. When others say that love looks like acceptance, status, or material things this a shallow expression of love. Love is secure, and it can’t be bought. Love simply is.
Today, I challenge you to ask yourself the following questions:
Do I love who God made me? If not, why?
Do I love myself? Including my flaws?
Do I accept that God loves me? Do I recognize His love in action in my life?
The first person we must learn to love is who you were created to be. This type of love is not arrogant, but a confident assurance that God deposited something great in you. Will you learn how to love again?