In a growing secular and materialistic world, wealth and social status has often been associated with self-esteem, confidence and even happiness. These things are thought to be sure indicators of one who loves himself; however, although we now have access to more money and material possession, we see more cases of depression, self-deprecation and the need to even encourage people to love themselves. We often see motivational speakers who sometimes in their effort to inspire others, peddle an unhealthy sense of worthiness, claiming that people should accept who they are and dig within them a feeling of joy and love for themselves. While this is true to an extent, it however opens doors to a culture of compelled acceptance of misguided behaviour and decision making. What I mean is, it has encouraged people with the wrong attitude, choices and decision making to force a claim of acceptance of who they think they are, rather than embracing positive change for the better. Example: I saw on the BBC news website, how a man had tattooed his whole face making him unrecognizable. He loves his somewhat very scary looks, and would want others to respect that. The truth is, although he claims to love himself, true love of self would not only focus on one’s right but also their responsibility for their own life and the interest of others. While his decision is a personal one that he is happy with, unfortunately, it may indirectly affect the business of his employer. It may also cause many to have the wrong perception of him, even though he may actually be a really nice person.
True love of self isn’t meant to be an indulgence in selfish desires even at the expense of one’s health or the feelings of others. True love of self, or any other love comes with a package of responsibility and moral awareness. Regarding this, the Apostle said, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:4-5).
Ultimately, while material possession may bring a sense of joy or worth, true love of self is not found in materials but rather in contentment of one’s identity in Christ that totally transforms us.