More and more, I’m convinced that love of self and neighbour/others are meant to go together. Love of self without love of others is – literally – selfish, and love of others without love of self is not only unsustainable but false. Leaving aside the question of justification for love of self (when we all know too well of the things we do which we don’t love – or do we grow too skilled at dismissing these things from our minds?), I found a relevant statement yesterday in Dallas Willard’s Divine Conspiracy. As a part his argument that ‘hunger for significance’ is not egotistical, he defines egotism in a helpful way:
Egotism is pathological self-obsession, a reaction to anxiety about whether one really does count. It is a form of acute self-consciousness and can be prevented and healed only by the experience of being adequately loved. It is, indeed, a desperate response to frustration of the need we all have to count for something and be held to be irreplaceable, without price.