When it comes to men, I can’t begin to tell you how many do a poor job with the Scripture we see in the Old Testament and the New Testament, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” (Mark 12:31, CSB)
We tend to do well with the loving your neighbor part, but we often neglect the second part of the Scripture about loving ourselves. When I talk to men across the country, I don’t feel that men love themselves, judging by their regular routine and thought patterns. Whether they are too busy working to put food on the table or serving their kids, men are often busy loving others but neglecting their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Some men are like “the starving baker” who spends all of his time feeding others that he forgets to feed himself.
We tend to do well with the loving your neighbor part, but we often neglect the second part of the Scripture about loving ourselves.
Here are a few ideas to help you love yourself.
I know doing this to our body feels like we hate ourselves, but many studies show that the better you take care of yourself, the better you feel. Exercise helps increase your energy levels, sex drive, and how you handle stress in your life. It’s okay to invest in a gym membership or to drop everything to go on a walk. Sometimes we get so busy we don’t take time for ourselves, physically. Interestingly enough, the people who “have what we want” often have made exercise a big part of their weekly schedule.
Life can quickly turn into a giant routine. We wake up, eat, work, say hi to the kids, clean, and repeat the next day. Most men don’t really have one thing they look forward to each week for themselves. To help love yourself, think about that hobby or passion you had growing up, which you dropped at some point along the way. A hobby can be something fun, relaxing, social or even educational. I encourage you to pick it up again and make it a permanent part of your weekly schedule. You’re allowed to have fun and take time to do what you love.
This might connect more to your mental or emotional state, but stop comparing yourself to other co-workers, Christians, or your neighbor. One thing that deflates a man’s value is when he compares himself to others who are usually doing better. You will find that the less you compare yourself to others, the more you start to appreciate and love what you bring to the table. This approach can boost your morale and confidence more than you think.
I wrote a previous article about men and being alone, but I want to emphasize this again. You need friends, and when you have them, it’s okay to hang out with them throughout the week. Many men push this aside, which can create a feeling of loneliness despite always being around people. Friends will invest back into your life, which is a unique way to love yourself. We all need this.
In order to love ourselves, we need to deeply tap into the love God has for us. To be in a good place spiritually, we can’t just live a life where our time with God only consists of showing up to church on Sundays for 2 hours. The more you make spending time with God a part of your daily routine, the more you realize that it is good for your soul and your inner peace.
Although we could probably list hundreds of ideas on how to love yourself, these are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling. I encourage you to put some time and reflection into how you can love yourself more and not feel guilty or selfish in this area. You will see it has a very healthy domino effect on yourself, which can actually help you love your neighbor and others better too.
Youth for Christ Canada