Self love often gets a bad wrap.
Consider this quote by Mary Baker Eddy, “Self-love is more opaque than a solid body. In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error,– self-will, self-justification, and self-love, –which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 242)
We don’t want to add to the unyielding, insistent, impenetrability of error by loving ourselves!
In a similar way, the word “imagination” is rightly condemned by Paul in the King James version of Bible, in II Corinthians, chapter 10. However, as I share in a recent poem regarding that, there is a helpful way and a damaging way to imagine, and only the hurtful way is to be avoided. The right way is very much needed, and should be entirely embraced. So it is with self love. The wrong type gets conflated and mixed up, often preventing the necessary approach from getting its due.
No one likes arrogance, narcissism, and prideful conceit. These are definitely error’s offspring and are to be assiduously avoided!
But Jesus asks us to, “Love your neighbors as yourselves.” If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love our neighbors?
When I affirm that I am the outcome of God’s creation, being “wonderfully made, ” and answering to something larger than myself– that is the type of loving of one’s self that should be done. Then we see our neighbor too as one with God, having all that’s needed, and what could be better than that?
It is easy to think that qualities like kindness, unselfishness, benevolence, charity, generosity, compassion, are for giving to others. But if you are not giving these things to yourself first, you have not cultivated them enough to adequately offer them to your neighbors.
We think we are to be meek and humble, but we also have to know and embrace our own magnificent worth and value. Knowing we did not generate that, helps us see impersonal wonder everywhere, and especially in others.
Thank God for who you are, and for being the complete source of all good everywhere. Embrace yourself from the viewpoint of the one divine Mind, and reject thinking you ever have done anything separately, on your own. That’s the quicksand where stubborn, obdurate error will suck you down. Jesus said, “I of mine own self can do nothing,” and as I’m fond of saying in retort, then with that consciousness, he went and did everything.
Yes, you are very special. So is everyone else! Yay! And none of us had anything to do with it. Therefore, you certainly can fully love yourself without worrying about getting an inflated ego.
Cherish yourself, your real self, the one actually created by God. Feel God’s total, euphoric, approval of you, just as you are, in your original innocence, abundance, ability, and provision. Rest in it. Bask in it.
When you really receive and know that, the whole world is radiantly included in that love. How much better is that than critically beating yourself up for your perceived shortcomings, and then offering that same lousy perspective to your neighbor?
And frankly, not loving yourself is blatant ingratitude, which is unacceptable. You need to own how marvelous you are in order to leverage all that as your gift back to God.