The Hardest Love?

Dear Pogue,

How are things? Life good?

Have you noticed that in our recent correspondence on matters of love that we’ve mentioned the importance of self love more than once? Indeed, this is a requirement of biblical importance with Jesus himself instructing that you should “love your neighbor as yourself”.

“The ultimate care for self is to care for others. If you care for others, Allah will care for you”

Shaykh Hanna Yusuf

But let’s pull over for a moment, park the car and think, because this admonition troubles me.

The reason I am troubled?

Well we live in a messed up world. I have a friend who’s daughter harms herself from time to time. I mean deliberately harms herself and I know she is in no way unique. I observe regularly people who struggle with issue of self esteem, feelings of inadequacy, zero belief in their own self worth. Then there are those with issues of addiction, and addictions comes in a multitude of forms. Take drug or alcohol addiction or anyone of the many other forms of addiction. I’ve been told and I’ve read these addictions are not the base issue. Rather the base issue can be at a psychological level associated with things such as rejection, abuse or a vacuum in their lives where there should be love.

With me so far?

So for a whole bunch of people, loving others as they love themselves is just sending damage and pain into the world, The instruction sucks, in fact it’s darn right offensive because there’s nothing there to give. Where do I go from here because I absolutely believe you can’t give what you haven’t got? There are those who have nothing to offer their neighbors and I suspect that the number is larger than we would like to admit.

Did Jesus not realise this? After all he faced more than his fair share of damaged people. The unlovable seems to have been the currency he dealt in.

I’ve looked at this from many sides and, choosing to believe Jesus would not mislead us, I accept there is real content in what he reportedly said and find myself reaching for understanding. Yes, I am that guy who just has to know 😳

Now, take note, Jesus didn’t say “as you like yourself” and there is often confusion, a muddling of love and like. ‘Like’ is dependent on something appealing in the other person. A quality that is attractive. Love isn’t. Love is a thing, a quality, an essence within you. It’s a power, in fact for those who realise it, it is a superpower worthy of a cloak and a mask. A Marvel comic all of its own. Yes, people have reduced it to romance, sex – we made love – artistic appreciation, indeed, anything that attracts us, where cries of “Oh, I love that” can be heard. But in doing so we have sold love short, so very short. It is a force we can access that makes all else shrink in relevance.

Whatever you accept about yourself cannot be used against you. Be willing to own your truth, even if it makes others uncomfortable. The good and the ugly are all part of your story. You never know who you can inspire by being your authentic, unapologetic self.

Ash Alves

As with all other things we need to exercise it because like lifting weights it is not something that is initially done with ease and, as with weights, we need to start small. But we all, each and everyone of us, have a latent ability to love. And if you and I are beginners in the act of love our whole game plan may leave us looking clumsy or inept because it takes time and much practice and, most of all, it takes sacrifice.

So when Jesus said “as you love yourself” was there a deeper challenge? Let me change the context to one you and I easily understand. Imagine Jesus turned to his followers and said: “Teach others to run as well, as far, as fast as you do”. Now that should strike a chord because you run. You give time to practice. You push yourself. You endure pain to achieve goals. You compete. In fact, you know “running”. So as Jesus said, “Go into the world and create runners like you” you’re thinking easy, great, yeah I can do that. Gonna get us a team .

Except he didn’t. He said “love others as you love yourself” and accepting he really wouldn’t ask us to do something we are not capable of we need to learn to love ourselves. To start seeking the best for ourselves. To be kind to others. To impose discipline where there hasn’t been any because, well maybe, that stuff we’ve been saying, thinking and doing, it isn’t the best! To impose discipline because if we are going to do this we are going to need to practice. We will need to go into situation after situation asking “If this was me, how would I wish to be treated, what outcome would I seek or desire?” To be mindful in all our dealing with others.

To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.

Robert Morley

And those who are so lost as to actually be unable to love themselves? Who may have grown being denied the love that should have been there? Who have no model to apply?

Well for those it’s a gradual process. Little by little. Very limited exposure over a period of time. Like muscles that have never been exercised. Can the power of the past be removed? I’ve known people who have been healed of the pain of the past and I know those that haven’t yet. The past is always there but it doesn’t have to hold sway over the present and by first modelling self love, and then moving out from there we can offer hope. By dealing with our own pain, our own failings, our own destructive thought patterns we become those who actually have something to offer.

Love is a latent force in each of us. Regrettably it will remain latent in many. But the potential that it has for those who begin the journey to embrace it is immense.

Yours, taking lessons,


5 thoughts on “The Hardest Love?

  1. Well Wic, you have done it again. Written a thought provoking post. One I simple cannot leave alone, must comment, have stopped my house cleaning to read and comment. Here goes.

    “By dealing with our own pain, our own failings, our own destructive thought patterns we become those who actually have something to offer. ” For me this line stood far above the others, along with Jesus lines from the Bible. I think to love oneself we have to find something lovely inside our soul. I hate myself when I let my anger over take me, swear every time it happens it won’t happen again, yet when I let my guard down it happens. Paul is the one to go to for working on self esteem. He states it well when it says, I am what I am by the grace of God and I add, with all my failing too. We simple are not finished yet, there will work to be done till I go home to be with Jesus when I will be perfect like Him. But here in this world, the fight to love is ongoing. I can fully testify that one can do for others without feeling love. And I can fully testify that love resides in me, did even before I let Jesus into my life and started looking to Him for guidance on such things as love. I will stop commenting with this, and I think I have mentioned this before. II Corinthians “For the LOVE OF CHRIST, controls us, or some translations say, compels us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died, and He died for all, so that they that live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. It’s when I am the center of my world that my love wanes, when He is the core of my life loving myself is easy for He love me so much He died for me. God did not leave His creation without the ability to love, it’s built into us because we are built in His image. But sin from the beginning took a toll on all the emotions we were created with, love being one that affects all of mankind. Who did Eve love the most when she disobeyed God and ate of the fruit, herself, the creation of God. Them she used that self love to entice Adam, and he fell for it too, he stopped loving himself. Opps, I did it again too…commented on what I believe strongly in. And, your post brought all that out of me. Until I found Jesus I lived for me with occasionally loving others. Now I live for Jesus and occasionally love myself as if I died on the cross for me. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You more right then you know. My comments always leave a mistake because I only re-read what I wrote one time. Then again, if one gets anything out of my comments it’s because they are practicing grace on this old women. I will have to be bed ridden to let my house go for a pattern for me is first things first and besides I can read freely when I have a clean house. And to add to that, when my mind is clean from His Word I can write freely. Hope you day is a good one.

        Liked by 1 person

    I believe that love conquers all…. first we need to conquer ourselves 😉
    Thank you for these thoughts and all the very worthy things for us to consider and apply in our lives and daily walks… not runs 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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