FURTHER THOUGHTS SHARED WITH A FRIEND ON FACEBOOK:
I hear you, XXXXXX, and understand the commonly held belief that we are to begin with “loving oneself.” The challenge is that, in reality, it doesn’t bear out. Let’s take the drunk-of-a-husband for instance; his problem is that he BEGINS & ENDS with himself, clearly loving himself and his own ways, over his wife, children, etc.
The drunk-of-a-husband demonstrates the destructiveness of “self-love” and its inability to reach the pinnacle of genuinely “loving-others.” He is trapped in his self-love. He continues to put hope in himself and/or his using the bottle, which gives a temporal sense of relief that eventually gives way to the harsh reality of how problematic it is to “love-himself-as-is.”
Meanwhile, his nag-of-a-wife continues to grow bitter and more self-righteous, all of which demonstrates the problem of her ongoing “self-love.” She loves the idea of having to be the one to “fix everything,” as if she is the savior of her husband. And watch her closely, because she doesn’t stop with him…she ends up doing the same thing to her children, which leads them to run off; and she also does it to her closest friends who either learn how to maintain a safe distance or hide.
“Self-love” is the broken-condition with which we are born. Self-love = holding as a standard our own interests, at the expense of others. In the scenario before us, the husband and wife are both selfish, self-RIGHT-eo-US! The selfish disposition and response of both spouses merely perpetuates the problem. Unwittingly, they continue to feed off one another, which leads toward devouring one another. And all the while…they assume it is the other spouse who’s doing them wrong.
All the while, a solution is in the opposite direction from loving oneself! It’s found in one or both spouses having a self-LESS disposition. A NEW disposition of self-less-ness is impossible to come by when we consider that this is not how we are first born. And to make matters worse, we’re instructed from our earliest days that self-love (our first born state) is the way to go. Thus, the problem–our nature (first born state)–is compounded by the nurture (earliest instructions) we receive.
***Please note: I understand the wife here could (should!) be genuinely concerned for her drunk-of-a-husband (or substitute any other vise he’s gripped by…porn, drugs, illicit sex, money, authority, entertainment, etc). Her problem, in this case-study, is that she sees herself as better (morally or otherwise) and wiser than him, and that his ultimate hope is in HER or at least doing things HER way. When, in fact, the problem lies much deeper within his soul, just as it does in hers. Until she can be released from the bondage of her own self-righteousness, etc, she’s of little or no help to him, but is only apt to make things worse. Once she is released from her first born state, she might then at some point be able to come in humility and patience to his side, helping him as a friend (neighbor) and not as lord and savior. For the latter is never the place of anyone of us, but One.