top of page

Rediscovering True Self-Love: A Foundation for Mental Health

February 19th, 2024

In a world dominated by selfies, likes, and constant comparison, the concept of self-love has taken on a new, sometimes misguided, meaning. As a Christian Integrative Therapist, I believe it's crucial to redefine self-love and discover its true essence. Join me on this journey as we explore how self-love is not about self-absorption but about recognizing God's love within us, understanding our identity in Christ, fostering community, and working on our inner well-being.

 

The Modern Dilemma: Balancing Self-Worth and Mental Health

 

In today's fast-paced digital world, where social media rules and the pursuit of personal success can sometimes overshadow our well-being, there's a growing concern about the impact this has on our mental health. As a Christian therapist who deeply cares about the emotional and spiritual well-being of individuals, including teenagers, I've witnessed firsthand the challenges they face in this modern landscape.

 

You see, social media has become an integral part of our lives, and while it can connect us with others and provide a platform for self-expression, it also carries some heavy baggage. Numerous studies have shown a significant link between excessive social media use and declining mental health, particularly among young adults. In my work with Millenials and Gen Z, it's not uncommon for me to recommend a temporary break from social media and encourage journaling as a means to regain perspective and inner peace.

 

In my practice, I've had the privilege of walking alongside young individuals who found themselves grappling with unexpected emotional turmoil in their quest for online fame on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Instead of joy, they often faced overwhelming anxiety and profound sadness. The pressure to maintain a flawless online image and the constant comparison to others can take a toll on one's mental well-being. What's more, these platforms have a sneaky way of embedding certain images and feelings in our subconscious, influencing our self-esteem without us even realizing it. If you've seen the documentary "Social Dilemma," you'll know exactly what I mean.


The relentless pursuit of external validation, often fueled by social media culture, can even contribute to the rise of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in some individuals. This disorder is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, an insatiable need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Prominent psychologist Jean M. Twenge's research has shown a concerning trend of increasing narcissism, especially among younger generations, and social media plays a significant role in this phenomenon.

 

So, how can we address this modern dilemma? It begins by rediscovering the timeless principles of self-love through the lens of Christian faith. It's about understanding that our worth isn't measured by the number of likes or followers we have but by God's unconditional love for each of us. We can nurture a deeper connection with our true selves and focus on building healthy relationships with God and others. In doing so, we can find a more profound sense of fulfillment and navigate the challenges of the digital age with grace and resilience.

 

Self-Love Through a Christian Lens: A Personal Journey


The Bible reminds us of the profound truth that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). True self-love begins with recognizing that we are God's creation, designed with purpose and intention. It's about understanding that the number of likes does not determine our worth on our latest post but by God's infinite love for us.


My own journey reflects this biblical wisdom in a tangible way. Back in 2006, I embraced the emergence of Facebook and the newfound ability to connect with others worldwide. The sense of connection and community was a thrilling experience, aligning with my outgoing personality. However, life had its own plans for me.


In 2012, my son's traumatic brain injury (TBI) reshaped my world. As I homeschooled him and helped him on his journey to recovery, I was reminded of the profound truth that we are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made." Every step of his healing process reinforced the intricate design and purpose inherent in all of us as God's creations.


By 2014, when my son was ready to return to school, I embarked on a new career path in the South Florida film industry. It was a time of immense personal growth as I delved into acting, producing, directing, and more. Yet, in this pursuit of my dreams, the significance of social media in the industry took a toll on my mental health. The pressure to maintain a certain image and constant rejection led me to reflect on the Biblical wisdom that "pride comes before the fall" (Proverbs 16:18).


It was in March of 2020 that I created "Selfie," a piece of digital artwork that became a visual representation of my inner struggles, intertwined with my experiences working with teens at the high school since 2018. This journey began after the Lord nudged me following the tragic Stoneman Douglas Shooting in February 2018, and by September 2018, I was already working at an alternative Broward County High School. You can find "Selfie" in the book titled "Wrath to Riches, Justice to Gems." This artwork is a powerful symbol, highlighting the tension between the worldly pursuit of external validation and the profound biblical truth that our worth is firmly rooted in God's infinite love for us.


Lucifer
Light in thy heart
Pride that blinds us into following
Following a fire that warms into self confidence
 
Self
Selfie
Selfish
Selfishness
 
Chasing the flicker of a flame that consumes
 
Proud of humility
Proud of vanity
Proud of equality
 
Woven into brightness
 
Shining
Burning
 
Exalted before destruction
Destroyed into a pile of ashes
Broken pieces of a boastful soul
 
Damaged by the fire of pride

 

My journey underscores the importance of viewing self-love through the Christian lens, understanding that our true worth is bestowed upon us by our Creator. It's a reminder that in the digital age, where likes and acceptance can often overshadow our faith; we must remain grounded in the knowledge that our value is not determined by worldly standards but by God's grace. True self-love, therefore, is a journey of recognizing our divine identity, walking in humility, and embracing a life guided by God's love.

 

Community and Volunteering: The Power of Connection

 

As we explore the concept of self-love through a Christian lens, we must also acknowledge the science behind the profound impact of community and volunteering on our mental and emotional well-being. Driven by the timeless biblical truth that "we are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14), we can recognize the significance of fostering meaningful connections with others.

 

Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow once stated, "A sense of belongingness, of identity, of purpose, is among the greatest mental health gifts that a person can have." This insight aligns with the understanding that true self-love extends beyond individualism; it thrives in the nurturing embrace of a supportive community.

 

The science behind this notion is compelling. Studies have shown that meaningful social connections release oxytocin, often called the "love hormone." This chemical enhances feelings of trust and bonding and reduces stress and anxiety, promoting emotional well-being. The act of volunteering, too, triggers the release of endorphins, our brain's natural feel-good chemicals. Engaging in acts of kindness and service benefits others and enriches our souls, reinforcing our sense of self-worth.

 

So, as we strive to love ourselves through the lens of our Christian faith, let us remember that community and volunteering are not mere acts of kindness but essential components of our well-being. Indeed, these connections affirm our divine identity, nurture our relationships with both God and others, and infuse our lives with a profound sense of purpose and belonging. In the intricate weave of self-love, these bonds of connection constitute a vital and exquisitely meaningful component.

 

Science and Self-Love: Embracing the Holistic Mind-Body-Soul Connection

 

Self-love, it's crucial to note, is not solely a spiritual concept; it is intricately intertwined with the science of our well-being. The research underscores that self-compassion and self-care are ideals and concrete practices that can significantly impact our mental health. This scientific foundation aligns beautifully with our faith, demonstrating the intricate synergy between our physical and spiritual selves.

 

Consider the mind-body connection: our thoughts and emotions have a tangible impact on our physical well-being. Chronic stress, for example, can lead to various health issues, including heart problems, compromised immune function, and even mental health disorders. Therefore, practicing self-compassion involves managing stress through techniques like mindfulness and meditation, aligning with our Christian values of inner peace and reliance on God.


Furthermore, adequate sleep is a cornerstone of both physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings, increased anxiety, and reduced cognitive function, which can erode our capacity for self-love. Prioritizing rest aligns with biblical principles of Sabbath rest and rejuvenation.

 

Another facet of self-love is nourishing our bodies with wholesome nutrition. Science tells us that a balanced diet can impact mood and energy levels, contributing to a sense of well-being. Our bodies are temples, and respecting them through proper nutrition is a form of self-care deeply rooted in our faith.

 

Self-love is, in essence, an act of stewardship over the gift of our holistic selves. It recognizes that our physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions are interdependent, and nurturing each aspect enhances our overall well-being. As we align our actions with this understanding, we affirm our divine identity, reflecting the love of God within us.

 

Incorporating self-compassion, self-care, and understanding the science behind our holistic nature can pave the way for a life of greater mental and emotional resilience. It's a tangible expression of our love for ourselves, which flows from our relationship with the Creator and extends outward to those around us. In this harmonious blend of science and spirituality, we discover the true essence of self-love and its transformative power in our lives.

 

Resources for True Self-Love

 

1. Bible Study: Dive deeper into the Bible to discover verses reinforcing your identity in Christ and God's love for you. Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10, and 1 Peter 2:9 are great places to start.

 

2. Meditation and Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness and meditation practices into your daily routine to stay grounded and connected to your faith.

 

3. Community Engagement: Seek out local church groups or volunteer organizations to build a supportive community that aligns with your values.

 

4. Professional Help: Don't hesitate to contact a Christian Integrative Therapist or counselor for guidance and support in your journey toward true self-love and mental well-being.

 

In conclusion, true self-love transcends the superficial standards of our digital age. It's about recognizing our divine worth, fostering genuine connections, and caring for our physical and mental well-being. By aligning ourselves with God's love and purpose, we can navigate the challenges of the modern world with grace and resilience. Remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and your journey toward self-love starts with this foundational truth.

 

If you find yourself in Florida and seek the guidance of a Christian Integrative Therapist on your journey of self-discovery and mental well-being, please don't hesitate to reach out. I am here to support you with a compassionate and faith-based approach that can help you navigate the challenges of the modern world while strengthening your connection with God.

 

Wonderful Counselor,

 

As we explore the path of self-love through the lens of our faith, we humbly seek your guidance and grace. Help us understand that our worth is not measured by the world's standards but by your infinite love for us. Grant us the wisdom to nurture our mental and emotional well-being, build meaningful connections, and reflect your love in all we do.

 

In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.


In Service, Faith, Hope and Love,

Diana


PS I just launched a new podcast called The Holistic Counselor Podcast . You can find it wherever you like to listen to podcasts.


 

And now for the disclaimer to make sure you understand that YOU are responsible for YOU:

Disclaimer: The content provided on "Liberation Lunes" is for entertainment and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. The views expressed on this blog are my personal opinions and do not represent the views of any professional organizations I am affiliated with. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, 911, or 988 immediately. "Liberation Lunes" does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the blog. Reliance on any information provided by "Liberation Lunes," others appearing on the blog at the invitation of "Liberation Lunes," or other visitors to the blog is solely at your own risk.

Confidentiality Notice: If you choose to engage with "Liberation Lunes" by commenting or posting and you are a client, please be aware that you may be revealing information that could compromise your confidentiality. Remember that disclosure of your identity or personal details can potentially be linked back to your clinical material. As a therapist, I am bound by confidentiality and will not respond to any disclosures of this nature on this blog. I am committed to upholding the ethics and confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship, which extends to all forms of communication, in accordance with the laws and professional guidelines that govern mental health professionals. Your privacy is of utmost importance, and it is your responsibility to protect it when interacting on this platform or any other public forum.

 

 

26 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page