Sunday, March 13, 2011

Love Thyself?

Conventional wisdom tells us that in order to overcome depression or low self-esteem or just about any type of emotional ailment you can think up we need to learn how to love our self, first and foremost.  I already know going in that I’m gonna get some flak for my viewpoint, especially from those of you who are New Agers or who get your knowledge of psychology from Vogue and O, The Oprah Magazine.  Here’s the deal.  Self-love is a given.  We’re born with it.  Both Darwinism and Christianity seem to agree on this point!  What do both the Old and New Testaments say?  Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  Loving the self is assumed here, rightfully so.  Contrariwise, we are said to loath ourselves.  Really?  If we hated ourselves, then we would be glad that our lives suck, no?  Don’t we want harm to come to those whom we hate?  The Christian and Buddhist inside me tell me that the real antitode for depression and melancholy is the dethronement of the self, for it is our desires that get in the way of our happiness, not lack of self-love.  Au contraire!  If you’re really depressed, start serving and loving others.  There you go, folks.  I just saved you ten unnecessary trips to the therapist and plenty of insurance copay money.  Now go into the world with a merry heart and try to bridle your innate self-love for the sake of others!