… we do not possess ourselves nor do we possess genuine self-love. Self-love is a great thing. If we consider self-love, as we generally understand it, as reprehensible, then it follows that true self-love—which, unfortunately, we do not possess—is desirable and necessary.
Self-love is a sign of a high opinion of oneself. If a man has this self-love it proves what he is.
As we have said earlier, self-love is a representative of the devil; it is our chief enemy, the main brake to our aspirations and our achievements. Self-love is the principal weapon of the representative of hell.
But self-love is an attribute of the soul. By self-love one can discern the spirit. Self-love indicates and proves that a given man is a particle of heaven. Self-love is “I”—”I” is God. Therefore it is desirable to have self-love.
Self-love is hell, and self-love is heaven. These two, bearing the same name, are outwardly alike, but totally different and opposite to one another in essence. But if we look superficially, we can go on looking throughout our whole life without ever distinguishing the one from the other.
There exists a saying: “He who has self-love is halfway to freedom.” Yet, among those sitting here, everyone is full to overflowing with self-love. And in spite of the fact that we are full to the brim with self-love, we have not yet attained one tiny bit of freedom. Our aim must be to have self-love. If we have self-love, by this very fact we shall become free of many enemies in us. We can even become free of these principal ones—Mr. Self-Love and Madame Vanity.
How to distinguish between one kind of self-love and another? We have said that on the surface it is very difficult. This is so even when we look at others; when we look at ourselves it is still more difficult.
Thank God we, who are sitting here, are safe from confusing the one with the other. We are lucky! Genuine self-love is totally absent, so there is nothing to confuse.