In listening to Brandon’s conversation with Aaron, there were a lot of things that I was left to chew on. Hearing the conversation about loving yourself, about validation, and about loving people being the start of serving them kept bringing me back to the command from Christ that we must love our neighbor as our self. It has always struck me that people often seem to overlook an implicit command in this statement: Love yourself.
Really, this makes tons of sense. Think back to your early childhood. When you did something to another child, adults tended to address it by asking things like, “How would you like it if they did that to you?” The starting point for most of our interactions comes from the idea that we are both people, and so what is good for me is good for you. Now, as we get older, we realize that the equation is a bit more complicated than that, but as a general starting point, it still holds.
This is where the idea of loving our self is so incredibly important. We are inseparable from ourselves. I can’t separate myself from my view of humanity. If I think I’m worthless, hateful, or any other negative connotations I slap on myself, then I’m most likely going to have that as my starting point for viewing others. If I see myself as generally good, or recognize my striving as being valuable, that will likewise be my beginning assumption about the people I interact with.
All the more, if I believe that my value comes from my very existence, then I have to acknowledge the value in everyone else’s existence. My value is not the result of anything I do or don’t do, so neither can my value be destroyed or diminished by the mistakes I make or the sins I commit. I am not valuable because I’m a teacher, neither will I be without value if I should stop teaching. My students aren’t valuable because they get As, nor are they worthless if they get an F. We are all valuable because perfection itself, or more accurately, Himself, values us. To quote the first letter of John, “We love because He loved us first.”