Goal: To be intentional and consistent with choices then behaviors that demonstrate healthy expressions of self-love.

In this post we’re going to look at Part Two of the 66% – 33% Solution, which I call “the middle commandment,” and this commandment is to Love Yourself. In Part One, we identified that among the many gifts we receive from God is the gift of our Conscience, which helps us as to know His love as we remain in “conscious contact” with God. Remaining in contact with God positions us to know, experience and benefit from the presence of these positive attributes in our life daily.

In Part Two, I’d like to suggest one of the best ways to love yourself is to listen to your God (through your conscience) then exercise your right and ability to make good Choices, especially choices and behaviors that reflect you’re loving yourself.

Making choices is Inspiring, Empowering and Rewarding: Inspiring because our conscious contact with God enhances our ability to understand agape-oriented virtues and values, and Empowering because making choices to live by our values helps us to feel confident with the direction our moral compass is guiding us, and Rewarding because we feel proud of the constructive outcomes we’ve had a hand in generating then delivering, all of this because of the love of God that resides within us!

Loving yourself also means making choices to eliminate shameful and humiliating internal self-talk or treatment that is corrosive to your person, soul or spirit by another. Making choices to love yourself means you get to examine then replace outdated, shaming, humiliating and harmful self-messages with positive, affirming and loving self-messages which are more in line with your values and virtues that are important to you and breathe life into you!

When it comes to choice, my hope is that you realize God nor your Higher Power does not shape nor manipulate your thoughts and behavior with humiliating and toxic guilt or shame, as these approaches are incompatible with love. On the other hand, what makes sense to me is to discover, integrate then live by messages which affirm the humane purposes of God, like those found in Micah 6:8 (“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”).

My hope is that you’ll exercise healthy choices by choosing to amend or rewrite your Personal and Relationship “Bill of Writes” (based on the Bill of Rights) which guides you in your effort to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as led by your God.

Finally, when it comes to loving yourself (as evidenced by making good choices), I’ll remind you to use one of the greatest gifts from God to make good choices which is your Middle Prefrontal Cortex. According to the research of Dr. Dan Siegel, this part of your brain houses nine important components and functions to help you to make good, thoughtful and thorough decisions which could benefit you and others, that is the neighbors in your life.

Suggested Activity: What merciless and self-disparaging voices and messages are ruminating in your head which need to be eliminated and replaced with empowering, kinder and affirming self-messages resulting in your ability to author healthier self-narratives for yourself?

Do the “Positive Affirmations (The A-B-C Challenge): followed up by reading the A-C-T-I-V-E Model to begin or continue your process of loving yourself by changing the way you see and think about your life.

Finally, read “CHOICES” (Part 1 – Finding Yourself) and (Part 2 – Finding Yourself in God) for ideas to construct your own “healthy middle ground” you choose to live in!

What skills do you anticipate developing that will arise from the good choices you’ll make?

Next: The “66%/33% Solution (Part 3 of 3) or return to the Table of Contents.

Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3–2–5–4–24″ for additional information that could be helpful.

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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.

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Daily Bread for Addressing Compulsion