Must we love ourselves before we can love others?
Do we have to love ourselves before we are fit for any emotionally intimate contact then? That approach got me nothing but lonely and almost ended me, not to mention the untold grief caused to my family. How exactly DOES that work?
“I used to believe that I loved my neighbor, my family and my friends. Now I know better. I wanted to love them, but because I had no love of myself I couldn’t do anything but pretend.”
“I could not go to war with my neighbor if I loved me. I could not hurt those I love if I love me. I could not lie, cheat, steal or covet if I love me. Frankly, I could not damage anything if I had a pure and unselfish love of me. Perhaps when I have achieved such a high level of love, as Jesus had when he uttered that statement, I can then begin loving my neighbor as I love myself. Until then, I must stop that practice lest I create great harm in the world around me.”
“This does not mean I can’t express love to others, it simply means I have to find love within me to do it honestly. I can’t say “I love you” and then act out in fear because then I am loving my neighbor as I love me…in fear. I must know what I mean when I say “I love you” and, more importantly, act in accordance with the truth of that statement.”