Love Yourself

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by Maria Kane

Loving Self—Ann Freeman Price 

and Jesus said
love others
as you love yourself
same way—
how do you love yourself
in small ways
take time out from rushing for tea
good book
walk outside
a day of nothing
how do you love yourself
in large ways
retreat until you feel the
solidness of how you stand
until joy and laughter
bubble up in the spaces
of your days
love yourself
oh yes
and breathe

For years, I often told myself that I could take time to rest and play after I had completed a particular project or to-do list. On some occasions, when I felt I had not done enough work or checked everything off my list, I’d reluctantly engage in a time of rest, feeling a swirl of guilt, exhaustion, and impatience. I knew God’s command for rest was not superfluous, but I lived as though it was conditional.

After a year of transition that afforded me additional time to read, write, and enjoy the company of those dear to me, my soul and body felt more aligned with one another. My ability to be present to myself and others increased, too. It was clear that in “putting off” recreation I had made a god of my to-do list and sacrificed my life on the altar of productivity. In essence, I had told myself, “I’ll love you later.” Conversations with friends and colleagues proved I wasn’t alone in this struggle.

None of us would tell someone that we will love them later, so why do we do it ourselves? Neglecting ourselves or putting qualifications on how and when we relax is a form of self-rejection that not only hurts us, it hurts others as well. As we embrace and grow into our limitations and need for rest and play, we learn how to be more compassionate with ourselves and with others.

We are all beloved of God and our lives are worthy regardless of the checks beside any to-do list. This Eastertide, celebrate the truth that God is indeed making all things new. Let us love ourselves with confidence. In so doing, we become a testament to God’s generosity and mercy.

Don’t wait until later. Love yourself deeply—today. Share on Twitter or Instagram a photo or description of what that looks like for you, #lovenow

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