by Debra Watkins, MA LMFT CHT
We’ve all read the scripture “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” and it is understood that we must treat each other with grace, love, respect and forgiveness. The Bible clearly commands us to do so, and we try. But let’s look at this scripture with a new perspective. We should be loving ourselves the way we are trying to love our neighbors with the same love, respect, forgiveness and grace. We are given two commands to follow in this scripture, but why is it so hard to love ourselves?
We often speak and treat ourselves in ways we would never speak or treat anyone else. While we stive to forgive our neighbors, we often find ourselves unforgivable. We may argue that we are unworthy, unacceptable and inadequate of love and acceptance. Many developed this critical self-talk and low self-esteem throughout our formative years due to struggles with shame, neglect, trauma, and/or abuse. As a result, we find ourselves unforgivable, and do not believe we deserve the happiness or respect from others, much less grace for ourselves.
There are also neurological causes, in addition to psychological reasons, for these struggles, which may result from a traumatic brain injury or other physiological reasons such as food sensitivities, environmental stress, poor nutrition, or drugs. This causes brain waves to operate within unhealthy parameters resulting in increased anxiety and depression, brain fog, self-deprecation, struggles with focus/attention, hyperactivity, excessive self-concern, and ruminating thoughts.
Healthy self-love is an act of self-compassion, and a decision that compels us to push through the self-doubt to accept ourselves as God’s Word describes us:
· His precious jewel (Malachi 3:17),
· a friend of God (James 2:23),
· His chosen one (Ephesians 1:4),
· can never be separated from His love (Romans 8:35-39),
· are given a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7),
· complete in Him (Colossians 2:10),
· He has compassion on all he has made (Psalm 145:9), and many more!
If your negative thoughts of worthlessness and self-doubt have turned into firm beliefs, your brain will reject these truths, and reciting positive affirmations may have a neutral effect instead of beneficial. At RenuYou Neurofeedback Brain Fitness Center, we treat both neurological and psychological symptoms of low self-love. Just as we “can’t pour from an empty cup” as the old saying goes, we must begin by loving ourselves the way God’s Word teaches, and then we will have the capacity to love and show true empathy to others. Let RenuYou help you discover the psychological and neurological reasons for your lack of self-love: extend to yourself the much-deserved measure of love and self-compassion.
We begin with a qEEG brain mapping that measures the electrical activity in the brain. Because everything in our brains is electric, including thoughts, this allows us to separate the number of symptoms that are neurological from those that are psychological. In addition, an individual may also have psychological effects of traumatic memories, both remembered and subconscious, that contribute to their inability to love themselves. In that case, we would recommend additional therapy, such as counseling, trauma-focused therapy, EMDR, or clinical hypnotherapy to help a person learn to cope and overcome feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
Every individual is created in the image of a magnificent God. You have a God-given purpose and destiny, and we stand ready to help you learn to love yourself and accept His truth about you. If you are struggling, we are here for you. Reach out today to schedule your free consultation appointment for more information.
by Debra Watkins, MA LMFT CHT