Self Love/ Self Hatred


There are certain things it is proper to hate in the self; sin and the effects of sin. But what is left? And how am I to know what is left? A naught? It has been said that one finds Gods Will in the everyday circumstances of their lives… What does this mean? How do I know I’m not simply following my own will?

Is what I feel proper self-hatred (hatred of sin), or inordinate self love (hated of many things about myself that I want to change for selfish reasons), or (most likely) a mix of both? Has all of my religion been up to this point acts of self-love, i.e. wanting to be something I’m not? Has it all been selfish? Has it (in some weird way) an attempt to put my will over God’s? I don’t even think I can properly explain myself. Do I hate God?


Its probably a mix. It doesn’t sound like you hate God rather that you might be stuck in your own head. I feel like this might be more common than not, i know ive been there. It’s OK to want holiness. Let me ask you, what about things outside of yourself, charitable efforts, people you love? Do you not see God in those things?


A lot of good and interesting questions. It is clear that you desire to know, love, and serve God. I would only suggest a slight re-direction of your attention away from self and towards God and others. (sticknstring73 wrote something similar.) For the moment, set aside all questions about your goodness, your sin, your love, your hate, your will, your reasons, your wants, your past.

Can you think of specific ways that you can direct your attention toward God and toward others? I am not sure what would work best for you, what would fit your personality and lifestyle, but I could tell you what I think would work for me:

I would start out by thanking God for all he has done for me, giving me life, providing food, placing me in a safe community, and surrounding me with good people. I would praise God for the magnificence of his creation, and all the truth, order, and beauty that I see in it. I would ask God to strengthen my faith, hope, and love. I would ask God to make right everything that is lost, broken, or disordered in our imperfect world, in me, and in those around me. I would ask God to protect me from harm. I would beg his forgiveness. I would give thanks and praise to him for his love.

Then, turning my attention toward others, I would try to discern how God is calling me to express his word and show his love to those around me. What are the people around me doing? How do they feel? What do they need? How can I help them? I will try to love. I will try to assist those in need and heal those who are injured. I will instruct and advise. I will try to set a good example. I will try to forgive those who have done me wrong. I will pray that all may have faith, and that all may be saved.

God bless you and guide you always on your spiritual journey.


To repeat what others are saying, and speaking as someone who knows too well, really be careful of overthinking. Many spiritual fathers advise against striving too anxiously… we lose our peace, and then we become farther from the truth the more effort we exert. Although it seems counter-intuitive to just ‘close our eyes’ and stop thinking, it’s much more productive. I highly recommend any of Jacque Phillipe’s books (Interior Freedom, Searching for and Maintaining Peace), or a book called Treatise on Interior Peace, and Christian Self-Mastery. All these really help give a better understanding of what’s really going on inside us… psychologically, spiritually, philosophically. They’re really a solid help for the over-thinker. :slight_smile:

But no, you don’t hate God. I know it’s extremely difficult to try to analyze our intentions and subconscious reasons for every action we do. But the thing is… God doesn’t expect us to. He’s not unreasonable. All He desires from us is a good will… you will to love God, even if you suspect there’s some self-serving motivation. That’s fine, it’s not perfect, but it’s more than enough for God to work with.

And as a recent philosophy grad… we have to be careful not to become too Lutheran concerning ourselves. Luther thought there was nothing to love about ourselves, that we’re all sin. But a Christian can hold a proper self-love (from Aristotle and Aquinas). Our human faculties (intellect/will) have remained good despite the fall (if they were corrupted, we couldn’t sin), and we can have a proper-self love by living reasonably. It’s inordinate self-love to let our emotions control us, and if we live like that we can be more assured that we’re not following God’s will in our daily life.

So. Peace, and discipline. So easily said.


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