Mastering the Art of Loving Self
Andrew Young’s book ‘The Politician’, is a morality tale of his journey with John Edwards. It’s a tale of greed, power, fame, narcissism, lust, hubris and hero worship. It’s a great read…can’t believe I am acknowledging this…but it is! It’s the classic story of the sinner and the saint, self-discovery and the quest for self-love. I am moved to include an excerpt from the book since my summarization would not do it justice …he writes…
“Late one night as my father lay dying, I sat alone with him and turned for comfort to some audio recordings of his old sermons. The first one I heard included the following passage, preached in his deep and familiar voice:
Love yourself. Know yourself. Accept yourself. Most of us, me included, never learn that to ‘love yourself,” you must first see and understand your own failings, accept them without shame, and learn to consider them as you move through life. If I had truly loved my-self, I wouldn’t have been ashamed of my own mistakes and lived in fear of being found out. If I had loved myself, I wouldn’t have felt the need to devote myself to a hero and his cause.
In my father’s sermon, he also said that too many of us get caught up in trying to be ‘little Jesuses.” By this he meant we try to be perfect, the way we imagine Christ was, and judge ourselves without mercy when we fail. Better, he said, to try to be a “big you” rather than a little Jesus. In fact, he thought that was all God ever expected of any human being.
With my dad’s help, I know now the difference between understanding human nature – the combination of good and evil – and being able to love yourself and others through it all.”As I reflect on the word LOVE on this Valentine’s Day, this book confirms what I have always known; that the greatest love affair we will ever have is the one we pursue with ourselves. Learning to love ourselves first, with all our flaws and imperfections is the greatest love of all, and is an essential practice to ensure a life successfully lived.