(This guest post was written by Hannah Ackley of CurvyChristianity.com!)
I used to wonder if loving yourself played a role in your relationships…
“Babe,” My husband looked at me with concern in his eyes. “How come you have all these scars all over your body that I didn’t know about? Did something happen to you?” I looked at him confused.
We hadn’t been married for longer than a few weeks at this point, so we were still getting acquainted with each other in intimate ways. I asked him what he was talking about and he pointed to a cluster of stretch marks on my stomach. I instantly burst into laughter.
A part of my body that I don’t even notice anymore, parts of me that I always recall being there, I never thought to explain or point out. I assured my husband that I had not been mutilated in any way, and explained my stretch marks to him.
This story always makes me laugh and I think back to it. I laugh at my husband’s concern, and at his general lack of understanding the flaws of a woman’s body.
To also think back to that moment and I am deeply grateful that I was in a place of being comfortable enough with my body to not be offended by my husband pointing out my “flaws”.
As innocent as his comment was, it could have also been deeply wounding if I wasn’t in a good relationship with my body. As much as we hate to admit it, the way that we view ourselves deeply impacts our relationships, whether that be positively or negatively!
The negative list can go on forever, but I want you to walk away from reading this feeling encouraged, not depressed.
So, I want to highlight the positive ways that loving yourself can impact your relationships.
1. When you are comfortably loving yourself you don’t feel a need to impress anyone or be someone who you are not, you are much more genuine in a relationship.
This generally draws other genuine people, which can lead to real, strong relationships! I know that I love being around other strong, confident women because it is such an encouraging reminder for me to be myself. Whether you are talking about a friendship or a romantic relationship, it doesn’t matter. Being who you are (and being happy with that) is attractive to others!
2. Commitment to a relationship is much easier when loving yourself makes you confident and secure.
This may seem like a stretch but think about it. We get insecure in relationships, we get insecure that the other person is insecure, then we bicker and fight. We have conflict, and we attempt to handle them in a way that makes us feel like won’t result in the relationship ending. We are often afraid to speak the truth, or even refuse to hear the truth from the other person.
When you are loving yourself, you speak the truth, you receive truth, and you fight fair. When you are confident, you can handle conflict without fear of ending the relationship. This also goes for either friendships or romantic relationships. When you are sure of yourself, you commit without fear of the end, and you fight to maintain your commitment rather than tip-toe around issues and conflict.
3. Romantic relationships have so much less stress and worry.
When you’re not loving yourself, relationships can get messy. I’ve dated guys and felt so insecure the whole time. I would constantly worry about what I looked like, how I was interacting with them and people around us, and basically was constantly not feeling like I was good enough.
I had boyfriends where I felt like if I didn’t look a certain way every day, they would leave me, or if I didn’t perform a certain way, they would be upset. When you accept that you are in fact more than good enough, then romance is so much more enjoyable!
My relationship with my husband began at a time when I decided that I was going to embrace myself, chubby body and all! Because of this, I hardly ever felt insecure around him.
4. When we are confident in who we are, we are honoring God.
I’m not talking about being cocky and prideful, I’m talking about being secure in your body and who you are through Christ. When we honor God, we are much more likely to have God-honoring relationships.
God’s original design was Adam and Eve in the garden, and He said: “It is good”. They walked around naked, enjoying each other and enjoying the garden, feeling no shame or insecurities. However, all of that changed whenever sin entered the world.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, unleashing sin upon us, they felt shame about their nakedness and they hid. We serve a mighty God who created us each so intentionally. When we hate things about His creation, it can be dishonoring. When we love and celebrate the different unique things that He created in each of us, we are honoring Him, and living a more joyful life!
We should not depend on our own abilities to love ourselves.
The confidence that I am talking about can only come through an intimate relationship with Christ. Through this relationship, you can walk in your true identity, and the Holy Spirit can help you find ways to love yourself!
Loving yourself isn’t easy, but it is so valuable for our relationships that we are able to be confident in who we are.
Do you struggle with confidence and with loving yourself the way that you are? Don’t fret friend, you are certainly not alone. There is no magic pill that we can take or some great blog post that we can read that will completely change that. It is a process that takes time, intentionality, and a lot of time spent in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t be discouraged! To not live in shame and insecurities is God’s perfect plan for you. If you can commit to changing the patterns of your mind, learn to let go of caring about certain “flaws” and focus wholeheartedly on the Holy Spirit, and the grace that God offers, then you will find true peace with yourself. And in your relationships will greatly benefit!
About Hannah Ackley
Hannah is the creator of CurvyChristianity.com. She is passionate about helping women develop a Godly body-positive attitude about themselves, which is a journey that she is also currently on herself. She is deeply in love with her Creator, and also her husband, the handsome youth pastor. They live in Connecticut where she helps her husband in his youth ministry, while also working as a nanny. Hannah can be a bit obsessive, especially when it comes to Christmas decorations, diet coke, and Star Wars. She and her husband are also a little too obsessed with their kitty, Cleocatra.