The image one holds of themselves matters in life. A healthy self-image can bring balance and blessings, while a poor self-image can create numerous problems. The Bible gives us wisdom on developing a positive self-image.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
It is so important to love yourself and know that you have great value in God’s eyes.
In the first book in the Bible, Genesis, in the first chapter, first 27, we are told: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them…” Later in the chapter, we read: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
We need to remember that the image of God is that of a spiritual being, not a physical one. God created humankind after his own likeness and saw that it was good. You are not your physical body, but rather your spiritual body – and it is good in God’s eyes.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
–1 John 4:16
Repeatedly, throughout the Bible, we are reminded of God’s love for us. The first commandment the Bible gives us is to love God. Jesus also reiterated this, and reminded us that we must love others as well.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22:37-40
As Jesus explains, first we must love God, then others as ourselves. But what if you have a problem loving yourself?
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
– Colossians 3:14
There is an old adage that before you can love others, you have to first learn to love yourself. There’s a lot of truth in this. If you don’t have a healthy self-image, you aren’t really equipped to give positive love to others.
Jesus words in Matthew 22 above refers to when we are too selfish, reminding us that we need to put others first – and this is true.
However, if we tend to mistreat ourselves and our too harsh with ourselves, there’s a possibility that we may do the same to other people. Therefore, we need to find a balance of healthy self-love that doesn’t tip in the direction of self-centeredness.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
The first thing is not focusing on your shortcomings. No one is perfect, and we should not expect perfection out of ourselves.
The next step is developing the right attitude. The Bible recommends:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
– Galatians 5:22-23
Work on developing the qualities in the above verse. For people with poor self-image, they can often develop these qualities and show them towards others, but then have a difficult time applying this nature to themselves. They can be their own harshest critic.
The Bible tells us “do not judge.” The first place to apply this is to yourself. Start by being rational and reasonable with yourself, not expecting the unrealistic or impossible.
Once you can love yourself with patience and kindness, it will be easy for you to do the same to others. Not only that, you’ll have the strength to put others first without any feelings that you are being shortchanged.