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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Art Therapy 7: Relationships Following The Primary Command - Love Yourself (Part 3/3)

There are so many of who are struggling to maintain healthy relationships that we thought it a good idea to do a blog series on relationships. We take a Biblical perspective, using Jesus' teaching on what the greatest command is in Mark 12:30-31. In the last blog of the three part series, we look at the second command which Jesus put next to the primary one of loving God, namely loving ourselves. This part of the command is often overlooked and yet it is essential to the success of the other two. We take a hard look at this aspect of the command.

We once again begin our project on a strong surface with my choice falling on a sturdy paper that is heavy enough to withstand the wet paint.
Relationships too, need to have a sturdy foundation to withstand the seasonal elements it will be exposed to.

I draw the ground and a lone figure holding a heart in the center of the page. I choose to use charcoal.
What medium would you choose to draw with? Does this medium have a symbolic value for you?

I then draw hearts in a semi-circle all around the figure, representing love.

Lastly I draw the same sun that we have been using throughout the series to represent God.

With the drawing done, it is time to brush away any excess charcoal from my paper. Before you begin, ask yourself what are the things standing in the way of your loving yourself. Can these be brushed away, or do you need to work on them with a little more effort, similar to me taking an eraser to correct some of the lines in the drawing.
List the things standing in your way of loving yourself.
What are the obvious reasons?
How do you recognize when you've overstepped the boundaries?
Which of your friends could you talk to about this?
What are the less obvious reasons?
Can you differentiate between being self-centered and loving yourself?
Do you have a good relationship with yourself?

I choose to use Dala Craft Paint, but you are welcome to choose any medium you feel comfortable with.

I start by painting the grass under my feet green. Whenever we focus on God and invite Him to take charge of our lives, we are sure to find ourselves in a place where there is abundance of life.

I then paint the sky Duck Egg blue, similar to a clear sunny sky in appearance.

I paint the sun the same way I did in the previous two blogs of the series, namely Custard Yellow with Burnt Orange edges. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and with our sun representing Him in our painting, we continue to depict the sun the same way.

I paint the hair on my figure pale yellow with brown streaks. This figure will be representing me in the painting. Feel free to paint the hair on your figure any colour(s) you can associate with.
Do you associate yourself with the colour of your choice? What does this colour symbolize to you?
How does it make you feel to draw a figure representing yourself?
Take this exercise further by standing in front of a mirror and looking at yourself. What emotions do you experience when looking at yourself? Why do you feel this way?
It is important that we acknowledge both positive and negative emotions, and identify where they come from.
Many people hate looking at themselves in a mirror and try to keep it as brief as possible. How do you like looking in a mirror?
Would you be as judgmental about your friends when looking at them in a mirror?

I paint the skin pale pink. Again you get to choose whatever you like for your own figure.

Now that my figure is in place, I start to paint the dress a bright Custard Yellow. I choose to use the same colour that I painted the sun in, because we have specific instructions in the Bible to grow towards the image of Christ. We are told to be imitators of Christ. There are aspects of our sinful nature that we need to release in order to be transformed into the image of God. There are other aspects of our nature that God has purposefully built into us to enhance our ministry to Him. We need to rid ourselves of those attributes which hinder a close walk with God and pursue those that enhance it. Loving ourselves in God, means that we will get to see ourselves the way God does and love ourselves in the same way as well.

I paint the shoes on my figure Burnt Orange, which is the second colour that I used to paint the sun with. God has a passionate heart for people and when I paint my shoes in this warm colour, I wish to express my willingness to be an instrument in God's hands for reaching people wit the same love that I have for myself.

I paint the heart that I am caressing in my hands a Warm Red. This heart is to be nurtured and kept safe. It is not to float around with the rest of the hearts. This is a special heart.

I then randomly choose colours that appeal to me to paint the rest of the hearts, arranged in a semi-circle around the figure. My choice of colours included Purple, Turquoise, Custard Yellow, Red, Lime, White and Burnt Orange. Feel free to choose your own colours here. What do your own colour choices symbolize to you?

Once the paint is dry, I use a Black artists pen to write the partial verse that deals with this blog: "As you love yourself." Mark 12:31. We may not be the center of the universe, and the sun may not revolve around us, but to each one of us, it is true that we are the center of our own lives. We see, hear, touch, feel and smell from withing ourselves. All contact with others are connected to ourselves. If we can not find it within ourselves to love ourselves, our experience and love of others will always be warped, being born from an unhealthy place. It is time that we now draw the facial features of our figure in. We can not leave someone we love without features. A featureless face can belong to anyone. By drawing the features, we give this figure an identity. With the features drawn in, this figure becomes someone we know and can learn to care for.

The Bible tells us that God is love and we write the word love across the sun.

Then we write the word self in that very special heart that we are cherishing in our hands. This is not up to someone else to do. This is in our own power, in our own hands. God gives us this instruction to love ourselves, and yet, so often, we find it hard to do. If you are struggling with this, find a trusted spiritual leader, or professional, such as a therapist, to assist you.

Now it is time to think hard about what characteristics you possess that you love about yourself. Write those in the hearts all around your figure. I share mine simply to give you a starting point to work from, but yours will probably be widely different from my own. Be as honest as you can possibly be. In my first heart I wrote 'Creative' and in the second 'Organized and systematic'.

The next two hearts contained the words 'Joyful and positive' as well as 'Passionate'.

The last three hearts were filled with 'Energetic', Truthfulness and honesty' and lastly 'Heart for people.'

Having given this some thought, I want to challenge you to come up with even more things you like about yourself. I wrote the words 'Prepared' and 'Ready' in the two feet of my figure. I am always ready to travel and explore at the drop of a hat. But I am also always ready to talk to anyone who wishes to listen about God.

Instead of decorating the dress on the figure, I fill it with more personal characteristics and attributes. Again, choose your own. Mine included: Dedicated, Committed, Loyalty, Integrity, Interested, Intelligent. If you run out of ideas about yourself, ask people who love you for their opinions. More often than not, we don't see our own worth and are surprised by how our loved ones see us.

Across the chest of my figure I wrote these very important words: "I am God's Beloved." How does it make you feel to see this written down?

Now that I have discovered reasons to love myself, and know that it is possible for God to love me as well, I can finally add blessings to my painting. I start by painting green dots for the centers of the flowers lining my lawn.

Then I use red to paint the petals of the flowers. I now have blessings scattered throughout my life!

I use a Black marker with a brush tip to define the lines of my painting. My new-found knowledge of who I am in Christ will be the way I define myself to others in the future.

I use a similar White marker to add highlights to the painting. Where God's light shines upon people, there will always be highlights reflecting His glory.

Carefully remove the masking tape securing the paper to the background. With this release, I feel a symbolic release to live freely, love freely, and trust freely. He who the Son sets free, is free indeed!

You now have a visual reminder that you are the beloved of God. Do not let anyone convince you differently.

Melette Els (Clinical Social Work) can be contacted via the webpage, or by email at, or by phone at 082 776 1536.
Melette Els B.A. (SocSc) M. (Th) 
BHF Pr Nr.: 089 000 00 28754 SACSSP Reg.Nr.: 10-17310

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy the books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
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