Self-Love and Healthy Pride: Beyond Selfishness

The story about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has often been preached as a story about the sins of pride and disobedience.

Healthy self-esteem: In August 2018, outside the Swedish parliament building, Greta Thunberg started a school strike for the climate. Photo by Anders Hellberg on Wikimedia Commons.

However, not all pride is by any means sinful or a sign of unbalance. In fact, to lack pride is to invite unbalance, as Aquinas points out when he says,

Self-love is the form and root of all friendship. Well-ordered self-love is right and natural—so much so that the person who hates himself or herself sins against nature. To know and to appreciate your own worth is no sin.

Self-love is the basis of all other loves. Cornel West makes this point most strongly when he writes that a strategy for combating nihilism and despair must include “a direct attack on the sense of worthlessness and self-loathing in black America.” Self-esteem is a healthy and necessary thing. Healthy pride is not a problem.  It is unhealthy pride or arrogance (what Eastern spirituality often calls “ego”) that is the problem.

Healthy self-love: standing up at a Black Lives Matter protest, Charlotte, NC, 5/30/2020. Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

What about the good and necessary dimension to pride? Where would we be without proper self-esteem? Jesus said to love others as we love ourselves. This presumes the goodness and necessity and indeed starting point that self-love is. Pride is not bad; distorted pride is the problem.

Selfishness is a distortion in love and distorted pride.  It puts oneself first no matter what the cost—even if it means killing others by refusing to be vaccinated; or killing others living or to come by wallowing in denial about climate change.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, p. 199.

Banner Image: The Pilgrim Bandits led 11 injured soldiers (4 amputees and 7 able-bodied) from the Canadian Forces and the British Armed Forces kayaking 465 miles down the Yukon River. These extreme expeditions push direly injured men and women from military and emergency services to the limit, helping them to rebuild confidence and self-esteem by tapping into a wide range of professional skills gained in service. Photo by Province of British Columbia on Flickr.

For a TRANSCRIPT of today’s video teaching, click HERE.

Queries for Contemplation

Give examples of healthy pride and healthy self-love.  How do these actions differ from “selfishness”?

Recommended Reading

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9 thoughts on “Self-Love and Healthy Pride: Beyond Selfishness”

  1. Avatar

    Selfishness is a distortion in and distorted pride. It puts oneself first no matter what the cost—even if it means killing others by refusing to be vaccinated; or killing others living or to come by wallowing in denial about climate change.

    I have been a faithful & grateful follower & student of Matthew Fox for some years but I am shocked, rocked & deeply disappointed in a statement such as the above ‘ killing others by refusing to be vaccinated ‘ . For the life of me , I can’t comprehend such a dualistic statement coming from one such as Matthew Fox .
    Not everybody who refuses to take the vaccine does so because of political reasons .
    Some of us have done & continue to do much soul searching in close communication with our physician & mentors as well as our spiritual guides ie: Julian of Norwich , Mary Magdalene , Hildegard of B..

    Where is the compassion I have always felt & shared via FB from Matthew Fox .
    Where is the looking at our own shadows individually & as a country in the horrific acts we have done to African Americans ( Tuskegee , Al ) & Native Americans (children/boarding schools ) trying to make them look, think, & act like us ~ why ?
    There is another more compassionate way , deeply scientific & steeped in the healing practices of listening to the body, caring for the body & the use of herbs , supplements & the use of very inexpensive modalities done at home .

    One more thought ~ making a statement like that just adds more pain , despair & self loathing to those who for whatever reason ( auto immune deficiency …. ) have been advised NOT TO TAKE THE VACCINE .

    Thank you for opportunity to comment .

  2. Avatar

    Healthy Self-Love or Healthy Pride is another way of saying: The truth will set you free (John 8:32). Guardian Spirits are attempting to clarify and raise our individual and collective Self-Love/Healthy Pride vibrations before it is too late. Becoming vaccinated and laboring for Mother Earth is part of achieving Self-Love/Healthy Pride individually and collectively. Love is Awareness. The dictum by Jesus, “The truth will set you free”, is intended to be applied to everything. Mystical truth lies in this dictum. The picture of the camper urges us to become aware of individual uniqueness. When the Awareness of Healthy Self-Love/Healthy Pride is individually clarified, realized, and raised in vibration it is then extended to the collective.

  3. Avatar

    For the past three days I have had the privilege and blessing of caring for two elders, whom I was with during their last breath from this life into eternal life. In the work that I have been called to, I’m around alot of death. This really does change your perspective about life. Interestingly, today as I pondered over everything that’s going on in the world, with regards to those unvaccinated and those vaccinated… there was a song that kept coming to mind. It was the words that kept playing over in my head, which were from the song “We Can Work It out.” In particular it was these words, “life is very short, and there’s no time… for all this fussing and fighting my friends… we can work it out, we can work it out.” That is my prayer and my hope for today.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, thank you sooo much for your comment. The words from “We Can Work it Out” couldn’t be more fitting for our situation. Perhaps letting the words too that song ring in our minds and souls will make a difference…

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