On self love and hate

Marcus Aurelius wants to know why some people value what others think about them more than what they think of themselves, especially when the truth is that all people love themselves more than any other person. This is a good question, but there is another one that needs to be asked. It is the opposite side of that coin, which may only apply to a smaller population but is still worth asking, and it is this:  If all the people you know and value say good things about you, why do you refuse to believe them?

If it is possible to be mistaken in valuing others’ opinions of yourself, it must also be possible to be mistaken in regards to your own opinion of yourself. It is criminal to think you are better than you really are. This makes you insufferable. But it is a greater crime still to devalue yourself, for in so doing you are limiting the potential good you can do in the world.

In all these cases, you are not seeing reality as it truly is. And if you cannot see reality, then you are no good to anyone, least of all to yourself and your desire to live virtuously.

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