Girl skipping through a field

Service Starts with Self-Love

When the daily to-dos of life overwhelm us, contributing good to the world can be as simple as practicing self-love.

Attend a team meeting, schedule an appointment, complete a ten-page essay, call mom, make dinner, stop by a friend’s movie night, clean the apartment—for many of us, the list of daily duties may seem never ending. And on top of it all, the standard we hold ourselves to may seem impossible to reach when we remember the prophetic call to “use your strength and influence for good.”

Remember, the second commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself affirms that we are to love ourselves. -Julie L. Valentine

Picture by SJObijio

During her 2021 BYU devotional “A Noble Responsibility for Good,” Dr. Julie L. Valentine discussed the call to use our influence for good, and she emphasized that loving ourselves may sometimes be our most important work “for good” as our priorities shift at different stages of life. 

In a religion that heavily emphasizes charity and Christlike service to others, it can feel unnatural to focus on oneself. Dr. Valentine reminds us that “the second commandment to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ affirms that we are to love ourselves” (Matthew 22:39). She invites all of us to practice self-love by investing time and attention into our personal development, including our education, talents, and relationships.

Practicing self-love through personal development leads us to find our own “for good” and bless others in more powerful ways than we could have otherwise. During a busy time of life, Dr. Valentine prioritized her personal development when she chose to go back to school and obtain her PhD. After graduation, she found her “for good” as she conducted research in the forensic nursing field, advocating for victims of sexual assault. Her “for good” continued to transform as she progressed in her career and worked to decrease sexual violence and increase survivor support. Many of her achievements and acts of service would not have been possible without first practicing self-love through investing in herself and her education.

With so many worthy endeavors competing for our attention, it’s incredibly important to set priorities—but it’s equally as important to exercise grace as we invest in ourselves and engage in self-love. After all, we can’t fully care for others if we don’t first care for ourselves.

Read Dr. Valentine’s full devotional “A Noble Responsibility for Good” for more insight into how we can use our strength and influence to uplift and serve.

Source: BYU Speeches

—Emma Rostrom, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Read Dallin H. Oaks’s talk “Good, Better, Best” for more inspiring instruction about setting priorities and focusing on what matters most.

Check out Morgan Heath’s Latter-day Saint Insights article “3 Steps to Avoid Being Paralyzed by Perfection” for useful strategies to apply when perfectionism gets in the way of self-love.

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