Self Love or Self Obsession?

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I was going to join the self love party, writing about tips for self love like so many other bloggers. Then I realized that I don’t agree with the idea that self love is necessary in life.

Did Ghandi or Albert Schweitzer or Mother Teresa practice self love? I didn’t interview them for this blog, but I doubt it. They practiced service and giving to others. Is self love necessary to experience peace, happiness and love? I doubt it. I believe that part of our trouble is our western obsession with self, ego, and personality. Why separate ourselves from life and other people? What we give to another is what we receive.

Virtually every blogger I’ve read this week has posted about the necessity of self love. One blog I read suggested that self love is The Path to tue love. I say no. Yes I practice self love. Yes I think it’s wise to give love to ourselves, and even better to give it away.

Love is love is love. What is important is that we allow love to flow freely in our lives. Give it, receive it, and spread it around with wild abandon!

Do we need to stand in front of the mirror and declare our selves loveable, beautiful or worthy? I doubt it. Will we feel better? Probably for a short while. But I propose that we will find more peace, satisfaction, and lasting happiness when we focus on giving more and being grateful for our current blessings.

I hear the questions and debates coming! What if we lack esteem? What if we are run down? What if we give too much? Please do what you believe is best for you. By all means love your self; just don’t make a religion out of the idea! Balance and self care are good. Life isn’t static and fixed rules for living rarely work. I’m not suggesting that we abandon self care or self love.

All I’m suggesting is that we don’t make self love a necessary path to happiness and well being. And consider that maybe we would be more satisfied in our lives if we focused less on self, and more on service. I believe that meaning, purpose, and satisfaction in life come through service and giving.

Now that I’ve had my diatribe on self love, a deeper wisdom is reminding me that life is often paradox. Self love and giving love away may be two sides of the same coin. Wisdom is knowing when to love self and when to give it away.

For an enjoyable Valentine’s Day, consider giving love however you choose. Touch someone with your kind words, helpful hands or a simple smile. Or honor your self with a quiet evening of personal care. Just Love.

 “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”  – Rumi

Thank you dear readers for giving me a way to kiss the ground.

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24 thoughts on “Self Love or Self Obsession?

  1. I think this sums it up well: “Wisdom is knowing when to love self and when to give it away” as well as the beautiful Rumi quote.
    In world, it is not “us” against “them” as lots of mainstream chooses to believe and act…it is just one big “us”….may we allow the flow of love to connect us all and magnify as it flows…Happy Day:)

    Like

    • Hi Farouk,

      Thanks for visiting my cyber home! I’m delighted to see you here and to know
      that my blog has touched you in some way. That is my purpose; to inspire, connect & thrive with community of like minded souls.

      thanks, Brad

      Like

  2. Brad,
    I appreciate that we can disagree. I love your blogging and seeing the world through your eyes. My own personal experience has been that each of us are divine and if we go through life serving only others while ignoring ourselves, the very vessels we travel in, then we have missed the most obvious opportunity to honor the divine in ourselves.

    Like you mentioned, life is often a paradox. In the pendulum of life, my swing has taken me far into selfless giving to others, so much so, that I’ve now swung back to self-fullness and the gentle care and keeping of myself. At this point in my life, I feel the most loved, happy and more possible than ever before.

    I really think that as divine presences, we simply follow our inner guidance and make the choices that we can in each moment that bring joy and fulfillment. That might look like serving others selflessly and that might also look like taking care of one’s self. It might look like something in between or something else entirely.

    On this week of love, I’m sending you mine. You encourage me, challenge me and make life so very interesting!

    Hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow! Thank you Christi,

      This is a very thoughtful, caring & inspiring comment. I appreciate how gently & lovingly you offered your dissenting point. Maybe our modeling will help others practice compassionate communication. And we don’t seem that far apart on our views.

      I love your phrase of divine presences making choices to bring joy & fulfillment. That’s the purpose for my blog and life. Thank you for inspiring me.

      Joyfully accepting & returning your love, thanks, Brad

      Brad

      ________________________________

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  3. This post caught my eye LOL! I have even written a book on Self-Love. So it is nice to read another perspective. I have shared my ideas on self-love due to my own personal experience.

    Things began to change for me dramatically when I paid attention to loving myself. The experience was experiential. I soon discovered that what the enlightened sage, Buddha, said was true: you cannot truly love another until you love yourself. It is from the inside-out that I came into the realization. Maybe Gandhi or Mother Theresa did not talk about self-love but definitely Oprah or even Lady Gaga talks a lot about self-love and acceptance. And they speak from their own personal challenges.

    I am not trying to convince you for our journeys are different. Through my own, I came to see that I need to encourage others to love themselves. In no way, I am also suggesting going to the extremes of self-centeredness or narcissism. There is a balance to strike.

    And yes, I agree that there is a lot more to overall happiness. As you have said, purpose comes from service to humanity. That creates meaning. And maybe it is your purpose to spread this message.

    Thank you for sharing your views. It is always nice to read another perspective to self-love.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for your perspective too Evelyn, and the gentle way that you presented it.

      this blog has received more feedback because I took a somewhat contrary position. Ultimately, I agree more with you & Christi. Self love seems to be a very important base for a purposeful, loving life. It’s hard to love others when we feel unloved or unloveable inside. Though it does seem like some people do fine simply living to help others.

      I haven’t gotten to my deepest personal truth on this topic. I’m sure life will bring me opportunities to explore it further!

      To more love in the world. that’s always a good thing!

      Like

    • Words like “self love” may also mean different things to people and carry many layers and viewpoints. These are some of my takes: Loving oneself is loving others for we are not separate, though it may seem so. Loving oneself doesn´t exclude serving. Personally I´ve also seen dreadful abuse of persons lacking self love passed on to the children. Serving others can be done of many different motives, too, some of them maybe about serving one´s own ego. We can also serve the egos of other persons, often unconsciously, or we can serve the souls. All in all we can do same things from totally different octaves of motives. Becoming aware of one´s own unconscious dives can make a great deal.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hi Soul Fields,
    Very thoughtful and insightful comments. I would agree that being conscious of our motivations and choices is key. Good reminder too that we each have different ideas of what words and concepts mean.
    Hopefully, we learn to act more and more from a spirit of love and care for the good of all.
    Thanks for contributing! Brad

    Liked by 1 person

    • You put that so well into words! PS. English is not my native language, still I was suppose to write “drive” not “dive”. On the other hand “dive” might do in the case of the unconscious / subconscious, at leas to me it has. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this sentence Brad
    “Love is love is love. What is important is that we allow love to flow freely in our lives. Give it, receive it, and spread it around with wild abandon!”…

    It took me a long while in life to ” LIke myself” LOL.. And I did a lot of inner work on healing that aspect of self… I so know what you are getting at here Brad… That we do not revolve just around our selves.. Too right..

    Life for me has always been about service and giving to others..not having read the posts you speak of, I can only say that from my own perspective at times I have put myself at the bottom of the list.. Self love is about including ourselves as worthy of being loved… which many find difficult to achieve..

    Working in Support Work especially in mental health, many of the issues arose because of the lack of self love- self respect.. in fact often this lack of love lead to self loathing and self harm..
    Balance is needed as we love others and ourselves equally.. When we do that, and have self respect, we then are happier within ourselves and then can share and show others more of our love..

    Hope that made some sort of sense.. as I let my fingers type away..

    Its good to be back Brad…. and so nice to feel all the love my WP family have sent me.. Thank you xx
    Hugs Sue ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  6. It’s nice to have you back Sue! 🙂 I really resonate with your response. I’ve had my own self-esteem challenges and know how that can drag down our attitude and life choices. Something clicked reading your phrase about including ourselves as worthy. It seems that when we place others and self on the same level, not above or below, caring equally for the well being of all, then we are truly in the flow of love.
    blessings my friend. ❤

    Like

  7. I really liked a lot of what Sue said above, and that same phrase… “Love is love is love. What is important is that we allow love to flow freely in our lives. Give it, receive it, and spread it around with wild abandon!” stood out to me as well. Honestly, I haven’t thought much about self love except for when I’m trying to help others practice a bit more of it, people are sometimes just so hard on themselves.
    Anyway, this was a really good post Brad, and I’m glad you shared it again so I could read it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Julie, Truthfully that is what I really wanted. Acknowledgment that it was an interesting post/ perspective and invite some conversation. I thought it was a pretty good post, but that was before I had much of an audience. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  9. It really is such an interestin topic of conversation. I went to a conference a couple of years ago where in the same day, Cheryl Richardson spoke almost exclusively about it as a necessity and a few hours later Caroline Myss took the same stage and talked about it like a plague to modern culture and a wreckless indulgence. As a student of A Course in Miracles, the workbook has taught that we cannot give what we do not have. So to truly love another we must first ourselves and this rings true for me. I agree with you about taking all that love and serving others. I teach my kids daily we are here to be helpful and kind and generous but we must first honour our own needs so that we can continue to fulfill these roles. Happy V Day Brad and all good things to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for such a thoughtful reply Lisa. Sounds like a great conference to ponder these questions. 🙂 Truthfully, I can agree and align with both sides. I like the goal to treat self and others with equal care, neither better nor worse. When we live from unity, then we naturally care for the good of all.
    Have a beautiful, love-filled weekend. 🙂

    Like

  11. Hi Brad,

    Juicy stuff indeed!!

    My therapist has said on more than one occasion that “There is No Love without Self-Love.” I would say that for people who struggle with being kind to themselves, she is definitely right. I also think that that service is indeed self-love. We are thefirt to benefit from service. However, it is common for men and women who are givers to give, give, give to the point that they don’t have anything left for themselves. I’ve been there, and let me tell you. It’s not fun.

    It seems like you’ve gotten quite a few comments and a lot of great perspectives, so I would say this post was a job well done!

    Hugs,
    Amanda

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Brad, thank you for pointing me to your blog. I appreciate our various pointers, mine and yours, as we both see how self-love and spreading love are two sides of a coin. I like this week when I heard my friend Donna say, “I want to be centered in myself not on myself”. Centering our selves, in what ever way we do, allows us the reservoir from which to serve. I agree with you in the value of serving and see it ultimately as the beauty of the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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