Loving yourself is not vain. Let me say that one more time. Loving yourself, in it's purest form, is not vain. It is vital.
Society tells us to love ourselves. Society tells us to go after whatever we want, whenever we want . Society tells us that beauty is skin deep. Particularly as women, we are told that we must conform to the societal ideal of beauty. Whether we receive this message indirectly or directly, we have all heard it loud and clear. In a society where physical beauty is idolized, it is natural to want to possess these traits and to be seen as attractive. All humans have the innate desire to be desired, and to be seen as desirable. So we give in to it. We starve our bodies of the nutrients and healthy eating patterns that it craves. We spend all of our free-time at the gym so we will have that "beach-ready" body by the time June comes around. We chase after so many things that, in the end, do not change our God-given beauty. They only distract us.
On the other side, conservative Christian culture tells us to love Jesus first, then others, then ourselves. You may have heard the acronym (J.O.Y.). While this is well-intending, it is not going to work for you, your life, or for whatever the ministry may be. I was taught this mindset, I sought to live by it, and eventually my world came crashing down. This mindset can be fatal. Jesus never taught us to have this mindset.
With all of these messages from the world, the culture, and into our homes, how can we treat ourselves right? How can we learn healthy patterns of behaviors, such as saying "no" to serving people when our plates are full, or even empty? How can we learn to set healthy boundaries, to exercise in healthy amounts for our well being's sake, rather than for our appearance alone? What if we let go of junk food, not in order to drop six pounds before our next big social event, but because of the negative effects that junk food has on our bodies and minds? We deserve to feel good. We owe it to ourselves.
It has taken me twenty eight years to unlearn all of the distorted ways of thinking, and to relearn how valuable I really am. I am worth taking care of. I am a treasure. I recently realized that I had never, in my entire twenty eight years of existence, loved myself. I had not loved myself a single day of my life, and I was completely oblivious to it. It wreaked so much havoc on my life that I was forced to search for the root issue, not once, not twice, but over and over again for twenty eight years. I think I finally found it.
If we do not take care of our own bodies, who will? God has given you your body, it is yours to tend to.
As I have been implementing self-care habits and loving myself, I find myself feeling more beautiful than I ever have. I find myself glowing more, laughing often, and having a joy that draws others in. Weren't we created for this?
“Love yourself. Care for your body. You are God’s image.”
--- I have been using all natural beauty products, as well. I avoid putting toxins on my skin, as 60% of everything you apply topically is absorbed into your bloodstream. Here I am wearing natural makeup products: Mascara, illuminating powder for bronzer, blush, and eye shadow in one, liquid eyeliner, and lipstick butter. Did I mention that I no longer use shampoo? Ask me about that. If you are currently in my life, you may already know. I like to talk about things.
Godspeed on your journey of self care.