Loving Yourself Enough to Change

A common theme in popular music is self-worth, as we have noted before on Reflect. Usually, pop songs dealing with self-worth communicate either an unhealthily high view of self or an unhealthily low view of self. The Norwegian singer-songwriter Sigrid recently released a new single, “Mirror,” that addresses self worth without taking too low or too high a view of herself. Instead of basing her view of self on what others think of her and how she feels about herself, she strives to “just be ok with being a human.”

 

Accepting the Good and the Bad
On “Mirror,” Sigrid alludes that she has been finding her self worth in the opinion of another person. She opens the song singing,

…you anchored me,
I felt anonymous
And you were someone who reminded me
who I used to be

At a low point in her life, someone had helped her remember her value as a person. But Sigrid implies that she began to find her identity in that person and became unable to value herself apart from their opinion of her. In the song’s chorus, she relates that she had to walk away from that person in order to love the person “in the mirror:”

It had to break, I had to go
Cause it took me walking away to really know

I love who I see looking at me
In the mirror, in the mirror
Nothing compares to the feeling right there
In the mirror, in the mirror

The idea of loving who you see “in the mirror” can seem like the epitome of narcissism. But according to Sigrid’s explanation of her lyrics, the song is not about vain self-obsession. Sigrid explains it this way:

“‘Mirror’… [is] about how you have to accept yourself. And with that, I mean like you have to accept that sometimes you are a person, you have to be strict, sometimes you have to apologize, sometimes you have to comfort others, sometimes you have to comfort yourself. Basically, just accepting your personality and the positive sides, the negative sides you have. It sounds really cheesy but [overall it’s] just being ok with being a human and living with it.” 1

In comparison to the common messages about self worth, Sigrid’s “Mirror” comes far closer to a Christian idea of self worth.

Loving Yourself Enough to Change
Two views of self crop up in popular music. One says, “There’s no need for me to try to be better because I’m already perfect.” The other says, “There’s no need for me to try to be better because I’m so terrible it wouldn’t make any difference.” Self worth is either so high or so low that people will not see a reason to try to change. Sigrid does not fall into either of these categories; rather than thinking of herself as all good or all bad, she recognizes that there is a positive side and a negative side to her. Sigrid’s message about self-worth is similar to the Christan message: as fallen human beings we are both broken and valuable. We have flaws, but there are also good things within us. Sigrid recognizes that we should not take our self worth from others’ opinions, but does not recognize that where we should take our self worth from is God himself. Because she is aiming for “just being ok with being a human” rather than seeing she is made to image a perfect and holy God, Sigrid’s solution is to love the person in the mirror and stop there. Christianity goes one step further: love the person in the mirror enough to change the person in the mirror.

“Just being ok with being a human” is not enough. If humans are made in the image of God, the human calling is to perfectly [fully] reflect the holiness of God (Peter 1:14-16). Even if we will not in this life be perfect (Matthew 5:48)—or completely holy—that is no reason to make no effort towards holiness. Positive change happens through the Holy Spirit working in us. If he is at work in us, we have no reason to become apathetic or inactive. Rather, we should have a view of self worth that spurs us on to become more like God. Many people are familiar with the phrase, “I love you too much to leave you the way you are.” That idea is often used to explain why, if God loves us so much, he seems to demand so much from us. The answer is because he loves us too much to leave us the way we are—broken, imperfect [immature/not fully formed], and sinful. If you take either the view of self worth that says “I’m already great” or the view that says “I’m terrible and that won’t ever change,” God’s love that necessitates change in us will make no sense. But if we understand that we are imperfect, needing change, but also deeply valuable, God’s love begins to make sense. Because of God’s love for us, we can love ourselves without being narcissists. Because God loves us, and his love calls us to change more into his likeness, we can begin to love ourselves enough to change.

Sign up here to receive weekly Reflect emails in your inbox!