Love Yourself As You Love Others

How Can You Love Others Without Loving Yourself?
by Boudoir Photographer Caley Newberry

At the bottom of my Instagram feed, you’ll see a banner that says “Love Yourself as You Love Others.”

I say that not to mock Scriptures, but because I’ve always struggled with the idea of loving others as you love yourself. In today’s culture — and, let’s be real, especially in Southern, Christian culture — we women are actively trying to love others because we know how important, how vital it is to show love to those around us. And we know how important it is for others to receive it. But, do we actually allow ourselves to receive that same service? Maybe in a self-preservation kind of way, we know that we’re all a little self-centered deep down. But love? I’m not so sure.

Last week, I read The Sacred Enneagram, and I realized I wasn’t alone in this thought when Christopher Heuertz said:

“The Scriptures tell us to ‘love your neighbor as ourselves’, but most of us never really learn to love ourselves, thinking we can make up for this deficit if we practice loving others. We have to practice what love is by making room for who we are, the good and the bad. Otherwise, the love we offer others will always lack the depth of its potential.”

That last line hit me hard. I’ll go so far as to say that if you’re constantly pouring into others without showing some grace and love for yourself, can that love be in vain? A checking off of a list without true value? This isn’t about driving you towards boudoir to love yourself, but how can you love your partner, your kids, your community, while constantly pushing yourself to the side? What can you do for yourself this week to receive love so you can give it well?

If that looks like a boudoir photo shoot to remind yourself that you are made just right, that, whether you’re single or married or somewhere in between, that doesn’t change that you’re feminine and sexual and worth of celebration and love.