“You are precious simply because you are. You were born that way. To see that, and to be grasped by the reality of it, is to love.
Experience seems to indicate that harmonious relations are possible only when that attitude is maintained. This universal law has been stated in many ways – by the Jews as a simple and direct command of God, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ The clause, ‘as thyself,’ correctly implies that ‘love of self’ is innate. Every person senses instinctively the priceless nature of his own being, and reacts reflexively to preserve it against any threat.
More specifically, each of us is automatically ‘defensive’ in the face of perceived rejection. To be ignored as though I did not exist, or to be treated as though I were worthless, is repulsive. Instinctively, spontaneously, I react to affirm the priceless nature of my own being by becoming angry and lashing back or, feeling very hurt, by withdrawing within some protective shell to safeguard as best I can the treasured ‘me’ I know I am.
But my reaction to being ignored or rejected has also a second purpose: to demand by angry words or pouting that others recognize the preciousness of the self I am, and respond accordingly. Such demands fail because in making my demand, I reject and ignore the very persons I want to love me; and once horns are locked in that way, the only solution is for one or the other of us (or both) to adopt an attitude of love – to see and affirm the other to be as precious as I am, no matter what his performance.
I have never met a human being who did not have similar spiritual reflexes. Because to love one’s self is a ‘built-in reflex.’ Each of us was created that way.”
-Dr. Frank Kimper
Claremont, CA, School of Theology