The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


How to embrace yourself

And why you need to

The Bible often warns about the selfishness and pride that can result from loving ourselves. It leads to such evils as adultery and greed. Still, there are good ways to love yourself, and it's important that we do so in a healthy, life-giving way.

getty images/frare davisWhy love yourself? A person who hates himself and his life rejects himself. Such a person lacks self-esteem and becomes lost in self-destructive feelings of unworthiness, self-hate and despair.

But before we can talk about balanced self-acceptance, we have to deal with those feelings of unworthiness. We're not actually saints, you know — we're sinners, theology tells us. We may be a little saintly once in a while, but we are often far from being perfect.

How can we get rid of this feeling of not being good enough, of not meeting our own expectations, not to mention those of others? Somehow we need a way of getting from being imperfect to a life that transcends failures and imperfections.

Here are a few signs of people not accepting themselves. They say:

• I sometimes don't approve of what I do.

• I don't think I'm as good as I ought to be.

• I'm embarrassed by things I've done.

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