Better Than Be-YOU-tiful

“You just need to love yourself for who you are.”

Have you ever been told that? Or maybe you’ve seen someone pin “You can’t love others until you love yourself,” or “Learn to love yourself,” or “Get comfortable in your own skin” scribbled in adorable fonts. We’re getting this vibe from every direction—from slogans on the front of T-shirts to your local Christian radio station.

Love yourself.
Be-YOU-tiful.
Be true to yourself.
Live your truth.

These are nice-sounding mantras. As you read them, the first thought that might pass through your mind is, Yes! Finally I’ll be accepted and loved for what I truly am! I don’t have to try to measure up. It’s such a positive and popular message that it seems a little outrageous to question whether it’s true or not.

And then . . . you walk through the checkout line at the grocery store, and staring at you from the magazine rack is barely-clothed, tanned and air-brushed, apparently flawless outward beauty. An unreachable standard of worldly beauty. The same culture that says be-YOU-tiful is also giving us an insurmountable standard of what they call beauty.

Confused? You should be, because truth is, it’s confusing! The world is sending us mixed messages. Two ideas that completely oppose each other.

What Gives?

How about the Christian songs, books, and slogans that tell us to love ourselves? Is this a biblical-thinking pattern? What does God say about self love?

In 2 Timothy 3:2, Paul warns, “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive” and the list goes on with the heartless, the ungrateful, the unholy, the treacherous, the lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—to name a few. Ouch! The “love yourself” motto is in the same category with heartless, ungrateful, and unholy.

What does this mean? Are we to hate who we are? Are we supposed to sit around listing off all the bad things about ourselves? Absolutely not! Insecurity can become an idol as dangerous and common as self love.

Now what?

Let’s let David, the Psalmist, tell us his thoughts on this topic. In Psalm 22:6, David says, “I am a worm and not a man.”
Whoa, wait a second. That doesn’t sound like he’s loving himself. That’s because he’s not. David realizes that he is unlovable. In Psalm 16:2, he confesses that, “I have no good apart from [God].”

David didn’t buy into the idea of self-love. So where did he get his sense of worth, value, and acceptance? Let’s take a look at

Psalm 139:13–14. David writes, “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

David didn’t love himself because he had so much to offer. He wasn’t trying to “accept himself” or get comfortable in his own skin. He knew his value, yes. And he knew his worth. He knew that God had created him with a purpose, for a purpose, to fulfill a purpose. And David didn’t need to tell himself how great he was, because he knew he wasn’t great in any way, but that God in him was great.

Worth vs. Worth in Christ

It is vital that we realize our worth in Christ. Believing the “self love” lies that are surrounding us is such an easy trap to fall into, but if we are constantly looking to our own self-esteem to find value, we’ll be drawing from an empty well. That momentary feeling of worth will end up being a farce.

There is no real peace when we accept ourselves. True peace only comes when we realize we can’t give ourselves value. Only in Christ can we find true worth and acceptance, and no matter how many times we look in the mirror and say, “You’re beautiful! ” or “You’re great just the way you are,” we will never feel fully accepted until we find our worth and value in Christ.

What do you think about the self-love message of the culture? Have you been tempted to accept it as true? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!

About Author

Liza Proch

As a Jesus-follower, blog-loving writer, and coffee-drinker, Liza is constantly looking for new ways to inspire and encourage other young women in their walk with Christ. She recently launched a hand lettering company and blog of her own (BriarberryType.com), and lives in the sunny hill country of Texas where she's in a band with her three brothers.

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  • Anonymous Sister

    This is soooooo true! I’ve always considered myself confident, but once I accepted that “hey, you don’t meet the worlds standard of beauty” I laughed and said, “who cares? God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” I became much more confident. We cannot be prideful, but we can be grounded in knowing our Creator’s love for us.

  • mel

    I still don’t really understand this topic…does David mean he is a worm when he is apart from God, and he is nothing without Him? What is the limit of loving ourselves until we turn into our own gods? I mean, we should still love ourselves right? Great post btw, Liza.

    • Morgan

      It’s okay to love yourself in a non-narcissistic way. It’s pride when you start valuing yourself above others, when you start thinking you’re better than others. Thinking about yourself too much is a problem, too, whether it’s good or bad thoughts.

  • Unfortunately, the world’s “truth” changes and fails. It doesn’t always work out. Thankfully, God’s Truth doesn’t fail.

    https://tizziestidbits.wordpress.com

  • Love this post, Liza! Great job on this topic! So true.

    -Olivia
    http://www.saltandlightgirls.com

  • A girl

    I don’t entirely agree with the post. I hated my gender and basically my self for A LONG TIME. And those Christian songs about being enough have helped a LOT. So have books and etc. about accepting yourself the way you are. I didn’t change until I stopped caring about what other people thought. I do believe our self worth should be found in Jesus.

    There is a vast difference between being a lover of self than loving yourself. Being a lover of self, is as if you idolize yourself above everyone else. We should be lovers of Jesus. But God does say to love our neighbor as our self.

    Don’t get me wrong the truth of the Bible stands and is the best. But. . .It was so hard getting comfortable in my gender. . .so I appreciate anyone who is kind enough to sing about it. And there IS PEACE when I accepted that I’m a girl and it’s OKAY. Floods of peace. And telling myself I’m beautiful based off of Jesus’ truth does help. You have to say these things. . .to help when the devil attacks.

    I have to learn to keep myself In check. Don’t idolize yourself. Don’t beat up yourself. Just accept who God has made you to be. . .and freely worship Jesus. David did it.

  • I disagree. Jesus told us to “love your neighbor as yourself” so if you don’t even know how to love yourself as God has created you… how can you love others? God loves Himself… when Jesus was baptized (as we know Jesus is God) “a voice came from heaven saying “this is my son whom I love, in Him I am well pleased”
    There is a difference between pride, thinking you’re better than others and loving yourself more than others, and loving yourself because you are God’s beloved creation, because He has called us unto Him and has made us worthy… we are to be loving beings. Living God, loving others, and yes, even loving ourselves. Not selfishly or pridefully, but in righteousness.

    • Deena Maga

      Yes, I would have to agree. I don’t think loving your self is wrong. If it’s done the right way. Now being consisted and just into your self like your all that is wrong but wanting to take care of your self and look good is not a sin. As long as it’s done in a measure that is not overboard, but to take care of one slef or take care of things that you need to take care of is important, there’s nothing wrong with that. Self love could be done in a way that your taking care of your self but in a way that is healthy productive and not hurting anyone.

  • Biblereader

    Thank you so much! I really needed this 🙂

  • Hannah

    I don’t think the author is telling us we should hate ourselves, or love ourselves, in the way it can easily be taken. I’m a new Christian, so I probably won’t get this exactly right, but I really enjoyed reading this article and I agree with it.

    I don’t think God wants us to hate ourselves at all, but we shouldn’t go to the extreme of loving ourselves to the point of being vain. The same goes for being insecure. I honestly was one of the most insecure girls you could ever find on earth before I got saved. I could barely go out in public because I absolutely hated my body shape. It was all about me. I think that’s what the author is trying to help us avoid. Letting it become all about us.

    God made is in His image, (Genesis 1:26) so we should definitely embrace ourselves, and accept the way God made us, but we shouldn’t let our outward man to become our identity. Unfortunately, It many cases, it does become our identity though. I think many girls my age have the mentality that if “I was more beautiful, I could love myself”, or “if I was built like that girl I could love myself and be happy”.

    I think it’s become more about trying to be happy, but we all know that I only God brings true happiness. I think if people realized how quickly looks can change, and how little it matters, that accepting themselves would become less of a chore.

    Besides, shouldn’t it be more about what God thinks than others, who’s opinions won’t matter in eternity?

    1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV)
    But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

    God bless you,
    HMR

    • Kirsty

      I agree with you!
      We certainly shouldn’t hate ourselves. In fact, we should accept ourselves the way that God made us. I think that’s what be-You-tiful really means… No that “I’m amazing and gorgeous” but “God has made me wonderfully, as He has everyone else, and I’m thankful for the way He’s made me” maybe non-Christians use it the other way, but I don’t think it’s wrong to use that. The “follow your heart” sayings are the ones that bother me. The heart is deceitful above all things! I’m supposed to follow Jesus…

  • Julia Childress

    There is nothing wrong with seeing yourself as worthy of love, whether it’s the love of others or the love and acceptance of self. As another poster said below, it’s a little hard to love our neighbors as we love ourselves if we don’t first have healthy self-love. The modern Christian emphasis on ferreting out every possible sin in our lives makes us self-centered, which is the very antithesis of the gospel. If we live in God’s grace, which is greater than our sin, and strive each day to serve God and others, it’s unlikely that our self-love will metastasize into something sinful.