We love because He first loved us, not meaningless self love

Self-esteem, self-love, self-help, self-respect, self, self, self.

You can’t love others properly without loving yourself at first. - popular idea

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4: 19

Mental states do not come before language nor accompany a sequence of words but are lived and experienced in the context of linguistic expression. -Wittgenstein

It’s wrong from a syntax perspective at first. Help, love, respect, and care, when we use these words, they are usually correctly used to describe the relationship between people. Adding a self before these words is simply wrong in syntax, as saying I eat water or drink food or I borrow money from myself. Bear in mind all these words nowadays everywhere like self-esteem, are extremely new and people for generations live without the need to create such words.

Before trying to define its meaning, it’s better to check how we use it.

  1. Your dad drinks too much, he just doesn’t love himself.
    Here doesn’t love himself=drink too much alcohol, loves himself=less alcohol. It’s basically a simple complaint and doesn’t help much. People tend to feel by saying he doesn’t love himself, we find something deeper or the root cause why he drinks, but actually, apart from getting the cheap pleasure to “explain” with such self or inner focused language, we are just at the exact same position. We don’t say he’s talkative because he’s talkative, looks silly, and meaningless, but we say he’s talkative because he’s an extrovert (a concept we created purely in our mind). But why we mark him as an extrovert is simply by observing he’s talkative.

  2. You can’t love others properly without loving yourself at first.
    It maybe means one needs to live a good life, and then can love others. Why I don’t like this type of sentence so much, is that it usually only serves the pleasure of a fake explanation and hinders the true potential help from happening.

  3. commercial ad: Xx chocolate, love yourself by treating yourself!
    Here love yourself=treat yourself, or please yourself. They just want you to spend money to treat yourself, nothing more.

  4. During lockdown: I want to do anything I want. Oh no that’s bad that’s self-love. See how bad an influence these words are if you start to use them. The meaning of “do what I want” during lockdown context simply means we want the lockdown or restrictions to be removed. Self-love here in the end means indulgence.

  5. Someone said to a child who failed an exam: no matter what you need to love yourself.
    Ask the child to not be guilty. Actually, it’s better for us to confirm children’s value from God, and give practical suggestions to help to improve.

Why there are so many different use cases and why do we still believe it has a consistent meaning? What do we actually mean in each of these situations and which one is better? Our old clear daily language or new shining concepts.

Then what are the effects of using it? It doesn’t have any power. Suicide prevention in train station says: remember there’s someone else who loves you. Why do we emphasize someone else loves you, not just “please love yourself and don’t suicide?” ‘Self-love’ hides or preempts better and more meaningful suggestions.

Where’s it coming from, what’s the potential motivation to invent these words? Self-centred century. Psychology tries to replace the church, some people want to replace all words related to Christianity or religion. They don’t know God and they want to say something about love. Moreover, it’s a century to trying to dig into our inside. Humans have the tendency to know why, to get the pleasure of creating and using words to explain things, give us a feeling like we already found something deeper, or know the root of a problem. It’s empty and doesn’t have any effects. It’s wet with loads of new words but has nothing meaningful and can’t actually make any changes.

The context is the key, and the world and environment and relationship among people is the key. There’s no such thing as the inner world of one person without the language of a community to support and understand, we tend to imagine many concepts we created in our mind as biceps and there’s a clear connection to our behaviour but it’s just purely a few characters we created on paper very recently!

Jesus loves us and how much love it is? We hate and curse him and he died for us. We can’t say how much I love myself and I die for myself, that’s a syntax error.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 NIV

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NIV.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 NIV