Okay, so today is one of those days where I sit and share my opinion on certain topics I don’t necessarily agree with. On my previous post, I talked about my issue with Christians who use discernment as a way of suspicion and today, I decided to speak about self-love.
I felt the need to address this topic because I do see this sentence “In order to really love others, you must love yourself first” being passed around a lot. And as someone who used to believe in it, I felt I would share my personal take on it.
So for a while, I did throw around that phrase “self-love” a lot. Because the old naive me actually subscribed to the self-help gurus that constantly shoved that phrase down my throat. And because I saw such individuals as wise in the world’s eyes, I took their advice as wisdom without realizing that a whole part of it was actually not wisdom.
Before I dive deep into this topic, I do want to address the difference between truly loving yourself and self-love. Because I honestly believe there is a significant difference between the two. And if you’re not careful (like I wasn’t) you may think it’s the same thing.
Truly loving yourself means walking in your Identity as a child of God. In other words, to truly love yourself you need to let go of self-condemnation and the pressure to prove and embrace the man or woman that God created you to be. Because the truth is, a lot of people today don’t know their identity and as a result, haven’t learned to truly love themselves.
On the other hand, self-love (according to society’s standard) takes a more self-centred approach. It focuses more on selfish ambition and pride, which results in condemnation and lack of genuine love for others.
And honestly, It can be so easy for one to fall a victim of the self-love preaching (like I did), because on the surface it appears to be healthy, but as you dive deeper into the root of its origin, you’d start to see how selfish it actually is.
From my understanding of the scriptures, one thing Jesus emphasized was the need to deny oneself to be His follower (Matthew 16:24). And honestly, that phrase “deny oneself” is what I often see ignored in the self-love preaching.
I don’t necessarily believe Jesus was telling us to hate ourselves from that scripture. Rather, I do believe He was emphasizing a daily death to self, whereby, we give up our control [mind, will, emotion] and surrender it to the guidance and control of His spirit within us. Because in order to truly love others, we have to be willing to give up our carnal nature.
And since the self-love preaching these days, focuses more on being in control and not necessarily giving up the control, the significance of total surrender (which I believe is very essential to our Christian walk) is ignored. As a result, we can’t truly love people.
With that being said, there are too many people today who are wounded and have looked towards the self-love preaching as a way of healing, instead of addressing the underlying issue. Many believe that if they focus more on being in control by practising self-love, then they wouldn’t constantly find themselves in cycles of pain and suffering. But what they don’t realize is that, in the long run, that only comes to bite them in the back, because the root of the issue never gets addressed.
It’s impossible to receive healing by remaining self-focused. Because the truth is, it will create bitterness and resentment which is the opposite of what true inner healing does. And so the individuals in this case usually end up creating deeper wounds for themselves because the root issues don’t get treated.
However, that can be stopped by choosing to deny oneself and surrender control to the one who can bring healing (Jesus). Because then the result of the healing He offers is true love for oneself as well as others, which is the complete opposite of what self-love preaching offers.
I know this might sound too complex for some of you reading this (especially if you aren’t Christian). But I do want you to really ask yourself (particularly if you subscribe to the self-love preaching) how it has changed your heart as an individual. Has it made you more loving of others or more condemning? Has it changed the way you surrender to God or has it made you take power into your own hands? Most importantly, has it made you more self-less or has it made you more self-ish?
These are just some things I’d like you to ponder about. Because when you start to really see the dangers behind the self-love preaching, you’d become more enlightened to understand how it completely makes us less loving of others and more loving of ourselves in a way that is actually detrimental to us.
I truly believe the key to truly loving others is to Love God first and deny ourselves second.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – Philippians 2:4
What are your thoughts on this topic? I’d love to know in the comments below.
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