Living With a Positive Mindset

Loving Ourselves: Do We Have a Healthy Self-Esteem?

October 17, 2017


“The second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”    

-Mark 12:31a NKJV


We  may  have  heard  this  verse  countless  times.  Message:  Love  others.


 But  what  about  the  part  that  talks  about  ourselves?  I  mean,  do  we  love  ourselves?  It  may  seem  a  trivial  question,  but  if  we  don’t  love  ourselves  and  are  constantly  putting  ourselves  down,  it  morphs  the  relevance  of  this  verse.


The  thing  is,  it’s  easy  to  find  the  principle  of  loving  others  in  the  Bible.  Whilst  we  may  struggle  with  that,  we  still  know  that  God  desires  that  for  our  lives.  But  what  about  loving  ourselves?  A  lot  of  these  verses,  which  talk  about  loving  others  as  ourselves,  are  written  presuming  that  the  readers  do  love  themselves.


Yet  there  are  tons  of  verses  about  self-love.  Self-love  as  an  unhealthy  self-esteem.  Many  times  it  is  pride,  arrogance  and  superiority,  often  combated  in  the  Bible.  Along  with  that,  humility  is  encouraged.  Perhaps  this  is  where  a  misunderstanding  lies;  that  to  be  humble,  we  have  to  think  little  of  ourselves.


Pride  and  humility  has  been  the  topic  of  many  Bible  studies  and  sermons,  but  what  about  the  in-between?  Maybe  part  of  the  reason  we  beat  ourselves  up  is  because  we  think  that’s  the  attitude  God  wants  us  to  have?


That’s  not  the  case.  There  is  a  big  difference  between  humility  and  self-condemnation.  Let  me  explain.


Humility  is  not  an  attitude  of  self-hate  and  belittlement.  


The  whole  point  of  humility  is  to  allow  God  into  our  lives.  If  we  didn’t  think  we  had  a  problem,  why  would  we  need  God?  Humility  is  not  a  negative  thing,  but  a  positive.  With  humility  we  are  aware  of  our  flaws,  and  so  we  open  that  part  of  our  life  up  to  God.  That  capability  is  given  to  us  so  that  God  can  work  through  our  messes  in  life  and  create  something  beautiful.  God  is  gentle  and  always  gives  us  the  choice;  He  won’t  force  His  will  on  us.  We  have  to  invite  Him,  and  humility  is  what  makes  us  aware  of  where  we  need  to  invite  Him  into.


Self-condemnation  is  totally  different.  In  fact,  it’s  just  what  Satan  will  use  to  make  us  feel  terrible  about  ourselves.  Self-condemnation  will  bring  self-hate,  shame  and  guilt  where  humility  will  bring  hope,  life  and  love.  It  will  tell  us  we  are  not  enough  or  to  give  up,  where  humility  will  tell  us  to  hold  on  and  that  there  is  hope  around  the  corner.





I’d  like  to  expand  on  this  topic  and  write  a  series  on  how  to  have  a  healthy  self-esteem.  But  in  the  meantime,  let’s  ask  ourselves  next  time  we  self-reflect ,  if  we’re  doing  so  in  humility,  or  if  we’re  self-condemning.




Sarah Tinning – Column: Living With a Positive Mindset 

Sarah is a 18-year-old, living in Australia. She loves God, her family, singing, writing songs and novels, and playing guitar. She enjoys meeting up with friends, and just putting a smile on people’s faces; even better, making them laugh! She blogs about books, movies, music, and life at




  1. Bailey Jo Welch

    October 18, 2017 at 10:52 am Reply

    This is such an important and critical message for us. I once heard a speaker say, “If I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself, I don’t think you want to be my neighbor!” She understood that she was holding herself hostage through shame, rather than living freely into who God created her to be. We, too, have a challenge to learn how to love ourselves in humility in order to live into freedom with Jesus and love others the way God calls us to.

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