Self-Love is Not Selfishness

Photo of women attending the 2019 Catholic Women’s Conference.

I recently heard a brief presentation about Self-Love by Dr. Margarett Schlientz, a woman whom I admire because of her deep love for God and her spirituality.  Her message was encouraging, consoling, and provided direction in helping us combat the lack of self-love:    

Self-Love, she explains, is the basic entity of our humanity.  Self-Love is turning every flaw toward compassion, forgiveness, and understanding and accepting your negative thoughts, strengths, and weaknesses.   

Created in God’s Image

Think about it – we were created in God’s image, in His love.  He breathed life into us and gave us a heart to love.  However, due to negative experiences, wounds or false expectations, we end up being hard on ourselves which can result in sadness.   

The Son of God, Jesus, gave us the two Greatest Commandments related to Love; Jesus said: 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39). 

Note the last few words, …Love your neighbor as yourself.  Here is Self-Love! We are called to live a radical and true love, and it begins with loving God first, the source of love. 

How to combat the lack of self-love

Dr. Margarett lists some steps to combat the lack of self-love:  

  1.  Do things you love and take time for yourself.  Our lives may be caught with a lot of activity and work that may prevent us from doing things we really enjoy.  I believe this is where we need to mark time out in our calendar for ourselves, so we don’t allow time and the busyness of life to control us.   
  2. Learn to say “no” without guilt.  This is where the virtue of prudence is helpful. Prudence helps us manage our time and balance our day.  By being prudent, we can think wisely before making decisions.   
  3.  Don’t expect perfection.  Learn to forgive yourself and be compassionate with yourself.  We all make mistakes, and we need to realize that nothing is completely perfect.  The virtue of patience is important here.  By being patient, we realize we need to try again.  Dr. Margarett states When we have Self-Love, we can openly own our mistakes and work toward changing them. 
  4. Do good for someone else.  A young man shared with me how much he enjoyed doing good for someone else.  His mother passed away recently, and as her caregiver for years, he learned so much about love, especially his love for his mother and he gained a deeper realization of his own self-respect.  Now that she was gone, he wants to continue to do good for others.  He said:  “ To help others is to be human, to be caring, to be aware of others’ needs.   
  5. Think of all the good you have done.  Take time to think of good things you have done, whether it was recent or those times in the past when you did good and others benefitted.   

Dr. Margarett concludes:  

Self-love is not selfishness, it is owning the gifts God has given you, God’s presence within you and all the ways He calls you to utilize the best of who you are. 

Now is the time to heed this message, remember you are not alone.  God is with you and will guide you.       

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) 


Even in this time of COVID-19 protocols, many Catholic Churches make Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament available for her faithful. Contact your local parish for days/times.  At Pilgrim Center of Hope, you are welcome to visit our Gethsemane Chapel and spend time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The chapel is open as the Center is open, usually Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:30 pm. Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org or contact us at 210-521-3377.

Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.