Self-Love and Self-Doubt: Are They Complementary or Conflicting?

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Seemingly poised on opposite ends of the spectrum, self-love and self-doubt are ostensibly conflicting concepts, since a person cannot love and doubt himself at the same time. But are they?

Above the level of survival is love-or, more specifically-self-love, but it is a feeling and the embodiment of what you are as an extension and expression of your Creator, not an intellectual theory. As a direction, it originates above, descends to and flows through you, and then radiates out to others, if you so wish it to. However, if it becomes damned at your “intersection,” it cannot continue its journey to the others, such as friends, family, and even pets, precluding you from providing the link in the chain when your own is broken. Consequently, you cannot give what you do not have.

How, for example, can you teach someone to read if you do not know how to do it yourself? Similarly, how can you love another until and unless you first know how to love yourself?

But why do you not? Self-love, as the term implies, comes from within and extends without, but neglectful, dysfunctional, abusive, and/or alcoholic upbringings fail to provide that link from a child’s most important molders and modelers-his parents-when they themselves are examples of broken links in the chain, leaving the child underfed and -nourished.

Consistently converted into negative emotion, which is the opposite of love, he both disconnects from his Higher Power and himself, dissociating from these consuming feelings until he altogether pushes them and his own essence away, in an ultimate act of self-abandonment.

Now empty, and negotiating the world with a wounded soul, he is forced to function with the same deficiencies and deficits as the parent who gave them to him. He is thus often left with little choice but to replace them with hole-plugging tactics and traits that both camouflage his rupture and suggest to those he interacts with that he is whole and capable, including people-pleasing, self-reliance, and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, which can ironically lead to independence and high achievement.

Art their core, of course, is fear, mistrust, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, a cauldron of negative emotions, and doubt.

Contrasted with self-love is self-doubt. But what exactly is it? By its term, it indicates that a person doubts, because he believes that he is something less than or inferior to what he was created to be. Or was he? Could he have been created to be flawed by a Creator who is Himself flawless? Ironically, he may find the answer to be in the affirmative-if he considers his abusive parent his physical creator, who remade him in his image.

Although he may have been unaware for most of his life that the image he consistently sees in the mirror is that of his parent, it may only be later in it that he realizes that he has become a composite of that parent. He apparently gave him what he had, especially and including his negative attributes, but, in the end, this was the equivalent of him having given him what he did not have.

Self-doubt, at least in terms of his own, was most likely the result of his parent’s progressive transfer, during times of poor to nonexistent boundaries, of his negative feelings, fears, and flaws, until they became his own, and failure to praise and support his achievements.

You rest your life on the foundation your parents build for you during your childhood and when theirs is weak, you are given crumbling pieces, which, lacking the glue of love, cannot be held together. Nor, to a degree, can you.

Listing such a person’s doubts may be like watching a string of dominoes fall. He doubts, for example, that he is safe. He doubts that he can trust. He is unsafe because he cannot trust. He doubts that he is as worthy as others are. He doubts that they accept him. He doubts his abilities, because people do not always accept them, because they do not always accept him. He doubts that he will ever reach their level or stature. He doubts than he can love himself. And, as an extension, he doubts that he can love others. And, as the years go by, he doubts that he even wants any of these things anymore.

Why is he here if he is inferior to and unequal to others, he may ask? Perhaps, just perhaps, to ultimately prove to himself that he is not-that he is not the image of his earthly parent, but the image of his Heavenly one. And this is when self-love and self-doubt cease to be conflicting and become complementary, when that realization and reconnection restore the love his doubt replaced.


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