Get over yourself

LIFE is unpredictable, no matter what we do or how we live. It’s too short to be preoccupied by the small stuff. Spiritually, we often need to get over ourselves.

Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life begins with the line “It’s not about you” – an unusual and daring opening for a self help book. The book goes on to explain how the quest for personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and meaning can only be found in understanding and doing what God placed us on Earth to do.

It is the first basic step to spiritual consciousness.

“Love yourself” is a popular cultural message, but it is not found in the Bible. Selfishness seems to be at the core of most of our problems.

The antidote for this, suggests Rabbi Harold Kushner, is a clear sense of humility, not the false humility that might mask a large ego, and not what the dictionary describes as meek, deferential and submissive, but the simple and hard-to-face recognition that we are not God and we don’t run the world.

Life is sometimes unfair. Sometimes people get what they deserve, and sometimes not. And we can’t really do anything about that.

Another wise rabbi, Mordecai Kaplan, said, Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are an honest and virtuous person is like standing in a field and expecting the bull not to charge at you because you are a vegetarian.

Virtuous or not. we are destined to cry and die, but the gospel message is that creation will one day be redeemed from all the pain.

One day, the world of terrorist attacks, poverty, billion dollar bailouts and stimulus deals and own little worries will pass away. They will all seem like small stuff in comparison to the vast love of God. So don’t sweat the small stuff.

God grant me serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference Serenity Prayer


18 thoughts on “Get over yourself

    • Bryan, I recall – it must have been 50 or more years ago when this topic of Loving Oneself was being discussed around religious circles.

      The main point that was often used was the argument that the words attributed to Jesus that we should ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’ do not say that we should ‘love our neighbour (or anyone else) INSTEAD of ourselves’. There may still be some mileage to be gained out of that particular point. If you havent really learnt to respect, appreciate and indeed love your own self to some extent, then you are unlikely to be able to see how to love others. Just look at those poor unfortunates who because of a deprived childhood, grow up hating themselves and deprecating all their own attributes. Dont we see all to clearly that they grow up unable to genuinely love others? They just dont know how to love! They have had no example of it in their own lives.

      But as well, there surely has to be some point to the idea that regardless of all that one must do out of love for others, one still carries some sort of prime duty to look after oneself. If we starve ourselves, we wont be healthy or strong enough to care for others. If we dont do our best to maintain our breathing, the same thing applies. etc etc. We just HAVE to be our own carer first.

      The opposite of loving oneself has frequently been applied as a special spiritual exercise. I cant remember off hand just which group within Christianity made use of it, but it may have been the Benedictines or theJesuits or the Franciscans. Whoever it was one was expected to envisage oneself as filth and decaying matter etc, and to be of little worth. I know that some schools of Buddhism have put forward the same idea as an exercise for the neophyte.

      A little quote you sometimes see in Op Shops etc shows a little kid saying that he must be worth something, because ‘God dont make no junk’. or words to that effect. As persons becoming like ‘little Children’, surely Christians reading terms like ‘a little lower than the angels’ and ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ have to properly appreciate and love themselves, mind soul and body in the right fashion?

      But Christians may well consider a further point. It must surely be a prime Christian truism that we should emphatically love everything that God loves’. So that if it is taken that God loves me, then surely I should love myself too.

      Now, if there is any Christian on this blog, who thinks that I have said something worthwhile here, PLEASE say so. I dont really want to have to make my same tired old point that – ‘It appears to me, that when they go to Christian Apologetics college, Christians are taught that they must NEVER allow that a non-believer of any kind has made a good point’.

      Cheers, Rian (Apostate, non-Christian, Gnostic student)


      • I think you missed the point Rian. The “moral” of the tale is that we should not be preoccupied with ourselves. It doesn’t suggest we should forget we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.

        the quest for personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and meaning can only be found in understanding and doing what God placed us on Earth to do.


      • No, I’m well aware of the overall moral here Bryan,
        I’m just pointing out that one of the paragraphs was saying something that is not quite valid about loving oneself. My post was purely about that sentence.

        It must be remembered too that when we say of someone that he ‘loves himself’ of course we can be most likely aware of the probability that he is distinctly selfish, and maybe has an inferiority complex that he is hiding.



      • If Rian has missed the point, then I think the point was not well made. There is a difference between the image we project, and our inner feelings about ourselves.

        Personally, I was brought up to not value myself, and many children were in a worse situation than I was. Gradually, with marriage and children, I came to see that I had some value. I now recognise some ‘talents’ I’ve been given, and hope I’m using them in God’s service.


      • ‘The “moral” of the tale is that we should not be preoccupied with ourselves. ‘

        I can go along with that. Including not to be preoccupied with our own unworthiness, too!


  1. “Don’t we see all to clearly that they grow up unable to genuinely love others? They just don’t know how to love! They have had no example of it in their own lives.”
    …….either that, or they’ve got unlovable neighbours.


    • Unlikable neighbours can still be lovable, Dabs, according to Corinthians. 1

      4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

      8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

      Not a word about liking them! :-))


      • And I suspect that if my neighbours were davinci’s bloody relatives I could probably love them too,
        …to death.


  2. “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man”


  3. I think this is so true and something the younger people have a very hard time with and must learn. Unfortunately this wisdom often comes with age 🙂


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