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It has become very popular to focus on being “good to ourselves”, to make sure we are getting what is rightfully ours in all situations, to “look out for me”.  While there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of clean self esteem and self respect, if the current “it is all about me” culture continues unchecked it will lead to something very close to narcissism.

We are already seeing signs of this already in our society and even more disturbing, in the church.  We are a generation that wants what it wants.  Who can deny that this mentality has lead to our present social climate of abortion on demand, easy divorce, and various forms of dysfunction in the family?  We have become a people who longer will tolerate any inconvenience or form of unhappiness.  If something is not working for us, not making us continually happy, successful, or moving us ahead to a goal we desire, it is out!  Be that our children, a spouse or a daily life situation.  Has our constant quest to look out for what makes us happy truly made us any happier or has the quest just left us more empty?  Have we made the mistake of setting personal happiness up as a sort of god to be pleased while disregarding that this is inconsistent with real life?  Past generations realized that it is not normal to be pursuing self gratification all the time.  Life carries good times and bad times.  The bad times can make you stronger and help you to enjoy the good times more. The good times both refresh us and encourages us.  They both have their place but when someone pursues pleasure all the time they become selfish, petty, and shallow. Out of touch with the reality of day to day life while using others for their own gratification.  Isn’t this the behavior of a Narcissist? 

A simple definition of Narcissism is one who has an inflated form of self importance, an unhealthy form of self love. The Narcissist has not regard for any one else’s feelings but their own.  Pity the unfortunate one who gets in their way.

The health side of loving ourselves should generate in us an appreciation for ourselves so that we are better able to appreciate and value others. God, the Father, loves and values us. His expression of that love is found in His son, Jesus Christ. When our value and since of love comes from this fact then our perspective of ourselves and others is correct. We are then free to help others, serve others, and truly love others.  The unhealthy side of self love motivates to manipulate, abuse, and perverted forms of love. The dark side of loving ourselves can lead one to committing some very dark actions toward others. 

May we find the courage to truly love ourselves in Him who loved us first.

 

Venetia Carpenter

Founder, Ecclesia International Ministries