Do I Love Myself? *

I would like to write about a very predominate element of my recovery. It has been on my mind significantly since I started steps 8 and 9. Very simply, it is this question containing just four words: 

Do I love myself?

The world has so much modern focus on self-absorption and egotism that we almost learn to hate ourselves sometimes. I say "we" not to single you or I out, but because I have seen it in others and absolutely recognized it in myself.

Loving yourself is not egotistic, it is one of the Lord's very special commands. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." NOT, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor instead of thyself", as I have subconsciously or consciously interpreted in the past. 

I believe that "as" in this case could be an abbreviation of "as much as" or "as well as", meaning..."Love thy neighbor [as well as] thyself".

My addiction has caused more disappointment and self-loathing than is sometimes bearable. I have felt it replace the good inside of me with bad, which then rots and leaves behind emptiness. And disappearing with it, my hope, confidence, and faith in free agency and my future. But if I recognize this hate as something contrary to what the Savior has taught, I can work at it and eventually eliminate all hate from my life, inter- and extra-personal.

Preach My Gospel, my missionary manual in which I spent so many hours and days studying so that i could love those I served more, offered me some answers today on what I can do about all this. It has a section for self-evaluation of several Christlike attributes, one of them being Charity. 

It helps to rate myself 1-5 on the following, replacing "others" or "other people" with [me] or [myself]:

  • I have sincere concern for [my] happiness and well-being. ____
  • When I pray, I ask for charity, the pure love of Christ, [towards myself as well as others]. __
  • I forgive those who have offended me or sought to hurt me [including myself - Step 8] __
  • I say positive things about [myself] (if it feels like bragging, I'm sure it's fine to think positive things instead, I just notice that when I have self- hate I can get verbally abusive and self-critical) __
  • I am kind and patient with [myself] __
  • I feel joy in [my] accomplishments __

All of these actions are meant to be applied towards everyone, and I can't leave myself out of that group. I just can't put my finger on it, but it feels to me like something about today's society promotes more self-hate and self-degrading than ever before, while very ironically promoting egotism and selfishness. They are both two forms of darkness in which Satan works, whereas Christ is present in selflessness and love of self.

If I feel strange or self-centered in saying all of this, I just stop and ask myself, was Christ self-degrading? Did he love himself? I have no doubt he absolutely did. If he didn't, he would have never had the faith, strength, or personal belief in his capabilities to carry out the Atonement. He loved [us] as he loved [himself]. 


* This post came from an email written by my good friend Jason. I asked his permission to share it with you.  After the email, Jason followed up by recommending an article that perfectly complements what he was saying! It is called "You Are Royalty" on page 23 of the August 2016 Ensign. I recommend reading it.

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