Lesson 40: Loving Ourselves and Others

Young Women Manual 3, (1994), 145–47


Objective

Each young woman will recognize that proper love for herself increases her ability to love others.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Assign a class member to tell the story of Enos as found in Enos 1:1–18.

  2. 2.

    Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Ask the young women to consider this question: What are some characteristics of a person who feels good about herself? As the young women suggest ideas, write them on the chalkboard. The ideas may include the following:

  • She is happy.

  • She loves her family members and friends.

  • She is willing to admit her mistakes.

  • She is aware of others’ needs.

  • She is teachable.

  • She likes to make others happy.

Explain that a person who feels good about herself is happier and better able to serve others.

We Need to Love Ourselves in the Right Way

Teacher presentation

Explain that it is sometimes difficult to accept the idea that we need to love ourselves. We may think that we should love other people but not ourselves. We might wonder how we can love ourselves without being conceited.

Scripture discussion

Explain that the Savior himself told us that we should love ourselves. Have a class member read Matthew 22:36–39.

  • What do these verses tell us about loving ourselves?

Explain that these verses clearly teach that we should love others, but they also teach that we should love ourselves. The Savior said that we should love others as we love ourselves. This means that we should love ourselves as much as we love other people.

Remind the young women that we have many reasons to love ourselves: we are children of God, we have many talents to offer others, we have the ability to overcome our weaknesses and become strong, and we have the potential to someday become like God.

  • Why do you think it is so important for us to love ourselves? Let the young women discuss.

Make sure they understand the following ideas:

  1. 1.

    We are children of God, and when we do not love ourselves, we are not respecting the things God has created.

  2. 2.

    When we dislike ourselves, we are often depressed and frustrated. We are less able to serve the Lord.

  3. 3.

    A person who does not love herself is usually less able to love other people fully or understand how others can love her.

  4. 4.

    When a person dislikes herself, she sometimes tries to make herself feel accepted and loved by lowering her standards to please other people.

Teacher presentation

Explain that proper love for oneself is not conceit or pride. A person who loves herself in the right way knows that she is a child of God, that God loves her, and that she has many talents. But she knows that other people are also children of God and that she should use her talents to serve them.

Chalkboard discussion

Ask the young women to name some ways they can show that they love themselves in the right way. List their ideas on the chalkboard and discuss each. The following statement may be useful to help identify some ways.

Quotation

“If you truly love yourself, you will remember that you are a physical, mental, and spiritual being. Loving yourself as God wants you to means that you use wisdom in protecting your life and conserving your health in order to complete your mission on earth. …

“Being mentally strong includes remembering that the glory of God is intelligence. Knowing this you will want to steadily increase your knowledge and wisdom and avoid literature, movies, and conversations that would pollute your mind. We who love ourselves properly take seriously the Lord’s teaching that we are to let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly.

“Keeping yourself morally clean is loving yourself properly. …

“Forgiving yourself after sufficiently repenting of a sin is an important dimension of self love. …

“Comparing yourself to others can … result in either feelings of inferiority or superiority. … Accept yourself as the unique person that you are without comparing yourself to others. Doing this will help you love yourself properly without conceit” (Clark Swain, “Q & A,” New Era, Mar. 1979, p. 38).

Explain that a young woman who truly loves herself will keep herself healthy, mentally alert, morally clean, and compassionate toward all people.

When We Love Ourselves, We Can Love Others

Teacher presentation

Explain that when we have learned to love ourselves, we are then better prepared to extend love to others. If we esteem ourselves, we can then esteem others.

  • Why do you think that a young woman who loves herself is better able to serve other people? Let the young women discuss.

They may suggest ideas like the following: We must feel that we are of worth and have something to give before we will feel confident in helping others; when we are completely involved in thinking about our own problems, we don’t have the time or energy to help others; when we love ourselves, we are more confident that others will love us and want us to help them.

Story

Explain that in the Book of Mormon we read of Enos, the son of Jacob who was the son of Lehi. Enos was taught by his father to have faith in God, but until the time of this story he had not fully applied the things he had learned.

Ask the assigned class member to tell the story of Enos as found in Enos 1:1–18. Then discuss the story using questions like the following:

  • What did Enos do so that his sins could be forgiven? (He had faith in Christ, and he prayed all day and all night.)

  • How did he know that his sins were forgiven? (He heard the voice of the Lord telling him that he was forgiven.)

  • Who did he think of as soon as he heard the words of the Lord? (His brethren, the Nephites and Lamanites.)

  • What did he want the Lord to do for the Lamanites? (Preserve a record so that if the people lost their faith and were destroyed, their descendants could know the truth.)

  • Why do you think he was concerned about his brethren after the Lord had forgiven his sins? Let the young women discuss.

Explain that when he knew that the Lord loved him and forgave his sins, he felt at peace with himself and loved himself more than he ever had. Once he felt this love and peace, he felt a great love for his fellowmen and wanted the Lord to bless them. Read Enos 1:19 to show that after this experience, Enos spent much time and effort trying to teach and help his brethren.

Quotations

Explain that as we show our love for others through our words and actions, we feel better about ourselves. The more we love others, the easier it is to love ourselves.

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!” (“Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, Dec. 1974, p. 2).

“All men and women are our brothers and sisters, sent to earth to work out their salvation, each beset by problems, each in need of help and compassion. We are carrying out God’s plan when we esteem them and help them feel by words and actions that they can achieve, that they are of worth, and that we are all children of God. When we live this commandment of God, esteem returns to us as a gift from those we esteem” (Alice Colton Smith, “Let Every Man Esteem His Brother As Himself,” Relief Society Magazine, Aug. 1968, p. 625; italics added).

Ask the young women to share experiences they have had with feeling better about themselves because they have helped someone else. Be prepared to share an experience you have had.

Conclusion

Explain that the message recorded in Matthew 22:36–39 has been repeated in modern scripture. Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:24. Remind the young women that as we learn to love ourselves in the way we should, we are better able to serve our fellowmen and we feel better about ourselves.