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On the one hand, there are ways to define "Love Yourself" and "Self-Love" that can work within principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For example:
"Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient
"Most importantly, choose to believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Forgiving yourself and being "patient" with yourself are primarily functions of withholding judgment of yourself, and leaving all judgment with God (Romans 12:19; D&C 82:23), who is compassionate and perfect with His personal judgments of you. So rely upon His perfect judgments, and refrain from making harsh criticisms of yourself; because you have not judged yourself in the first place, you will have no need to forgive yourself, but only seek God's forgiveness.
On the other hand, the terms "Love Yourself" and "Self-Love" can be wolves in sheep's clothing. How so? Because "Love Yourself" is the first and great commandment of the New-Age Movement; a movement that urges Ideas that undermine the teaching of Christ. New-Age Philosophy is Satan's imitation of Truth. Here's an example of the appealing appearance of Self-Love from the New-Age Gospel.
"Love opens us up to all that life has to offer. But first,
By searching General Conference talks at lds.org for the terms "Love yourself" and "Self-Love," you will find that those words have never been used in any General Conference spanning many decades. Why? Because the admonition to "Love yourself" is not a Gospel Principle. Even though the words "as thyself" (Matt. 22:39) seem to imply it, Jesus never taught Self-Love directly, and further, God has never inspired any of His prophets, over multiple millenia, to write of Self-Love either.
In the Bible, the words "love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt. 22:39; Lev. 19:18) refer to the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12); this, according to President John Taylor ("Teaching of the Presidents," chapter 3 "Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself," p. 21). Also, certain Bible commentaries conclude that the words "as thyself" refer to the golden rule; a love that contains no self-interest:
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. From Leviticus 19:18. The verb, both here and ver. 37,
"This commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also" (1 John 4:21).
Again, the words "Love yourself" can be translated into the language of the scriptutes: "leave judgment with God" (D&C 82:23) and "forgive all men" (D&C 64:9-10) -- to include, forgive yourself.
So instead of an inward focus upon ME and MINE, the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches precisely the opposite emphasis: Christ admonished His followers to do the will of the Father, and to focus upon THEE and THINE. Jesus said:
"I seek not mine own will,
but to do
If you do a search of General Conference talks, for the words "forget yourself," you will find those words in many conference talks. For example, when Gordon B. Hinckley was serving a mission in England, he wrote a letter to his parents expressing how hard the work was, and that he was feeling down and discouraged. His father wrote back:
“Dear Gordon, I have your letter... I have only one suggestion:
As a discouraged missionary read those words from his father, Gordon got on his knees and made a pledge to the Lord, to forget himself. President Hinckley wrote of that pivotal moment:
“The whole world changed. The fog lifted. The sun began to shine in my life...
The advice of Gordon B. Hinckley's father, is the same as Christ's admonition to His followers:
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
The Savior taught two great commandments -- not three. Jesus admonished us to love God with all heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love our neighbors with the same whole and complete commitment.
To repeat, the words "love thy neighbor as thyself" refer to the golden rule. The Savior was trying to teach a practical standard by which the 2nd Great Commandment should be accomplished:
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men
Jesus did not intend to create a 3rd Commandment: Love Yourself.
Nowhere in the scriptures is "love yourself" taught directly and explicitly. God is a good communicator. He has given all His most essential teachings in plain and direct language — as opposed to subtly suggesting a vital teaching by the implications of two words, "as thyself."
Some who Advocate "Love Yourself" maintain that Self-Love must be done First, before you can effectively Love Others. However, the gospel of Jesus Christ does not teach this assumption. Instead, Self-Respect and Self-Confidence and Self-Worth all come, as we place our focus outward: "whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." And this was precisely the experience of President Gordon B. Hinckley, while on his mission.
Despite the weakness of words, and errors in mortal translations, God is still a good communicator. All of His most important and fundamental doctrines have been revealed in plain language, AND they have been revealed more than once — "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Cor. 13:1).
If one assumes that "as thyself" means "love yourself," even so, where is the second witness of this admonition? In the end, the scriptures do not give even one explicit and direct teaching to "Love yourself" -- let alone two.
And why is this important? The Apostle Paul taught:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
Self Love is one of Satan's counterfeits; it is an alluring concept that superficially sounds right, but is empty at its core. Self Love is the first and great commandment of New-Age Philosophy — a philosophy that is deceiving many in our day, and will ultimately rob many of God's greatest glory:
"And again, we saw the terrestrial world, ... These are they who are honorable men
One the prominent champions of Self Love is Louise Hay -- a good woman with a good message, who has 1.9 million followers at Facebook. Her message is good, and God in His wisdom has prepared a place for those to attain such goodness -- the Terrestrial Glory. In contrast, those who will be blessed with the "fulness of the Father," will live according to the higher ideals of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and won't simply live His gospel with mediocre effort, but will be "valiant in the testimony of Jesus" -- Christ described this whole and complete effort, this way:
"I give unto them a commandment: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
Now, let's explore the dynamics of a Love that is completely Other-Centered.
The Love that Lasts:
Emotional feelings fluctuate! Romantic excitement ebbs & flows, it comes and it goes! This is why a State Commission on Marriage and Family identified "commitment," and not love, as the most important element in making satisfying and stable relations.
"The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful. ... Love is an act of will — both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love. ... The act of falling in love is an act of regression. ... Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience."
" Falling in love is not. ... The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. ... True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a committed, thoughtful decision. Commitment is the foundation, the bedrock of any genuinely loving relationship. ... it is our sense of commitment which makes possible the transition from falling in love to genuine love."
True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of active and anxious concern for the well-being of one's partner. Couples who stay together for a lifetime are inevitably faced with the task of keeping romantic love alive. But as long as companions are committed, romantic feelings can be renewed and made fresh!
Ursula Le Guin wrote:
Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made,
Falling in Love is a euphoric yet fragile emotional state based upon feelings that come and go; in contrast, Standing in Loving is a committed decision one makes and not a fleeting feeling one has and then ... does not have. It takes the total commitment of two to make a relationship, but the decision of only one to break it. Lasting Love is something you "stand for" rather than "fall in."
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The Highest Expression of Love is NOT an Emotion
The Love that stands is created through a committed decision that never dies. When we truly Stand in Love, emotional feelings reinforce this commitment; whereas the Love that Falls is based directly upon emotions — euphoric feelings of sexual desire and physical attraction. So as emotional feelings fluctuate, the Love that Falls comes and goes, a roller-coaster ride of emotional feelings. In contrast, the Love that Stands is stable: Lasting Love can be relied upon through thick and thin.
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Sioux Indian holy man Black Elk said: "It is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost, when we cannot see our way, we think darkness is shrouding our pathway, when really the darkness is in ourselves." When we do not see clearly, it is because we are not being true — and thus our feelings follow our falseness. In this state of Self-Deception, the Love that Falls can fool us.
* * * * *
When you are truly Being Loving, your very Being ... IS Love.
* * * * *
The committed decision to nurture the spiritual growth of another requires that we are "in tune" with our own spiritual growth. The Love that Stands is inseparably expressed through our ability to Be True — else we risk being mislead by emotion.
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