“Love yourself.” Are you tired of hearing people throw out that statement as if all we had to do was to decide and then we would suddenly love ourselves? I spent a lot of time trying to love Cec Murphey as he is. It was no easy task.

Loving ourselves comes in stages. At least that’s been true for me. Growing up, I didn’t like who I was. Three months after graduating from high school, I left home and went out into the big world. Among the reasons for leaving was that I didn’t like myself, I didn’t like my lifestyle and I didn’t like where I saw my life going.

In my early twenties I had a conversion experience and became a serious Christian. That was the first stage toward loving myself.

After that I met and later married Shirley. She was the first person who ever loved me for myself and that became the second stage of my growth. I didn’t have to do anything to earn her approval or acceptance. Her love gave me the safety to look into my past; her constancy strengthened my faith in God.

Years after Dave Morgan became my close friend I realized I had moved into the next stage. Dave taught me much about accepting myself, because he accepted me exactly as I was and I didn’t have to prove anything to him. It would still be a journey before I honestly loved myself, but those stages taught me that we need to feel loved before we can love ourselves. It was certainly true with me.

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