This business about loving yourself

James Leroy Wilson
3 min readMar 22, 2021

Feeling good and living fearlessly.

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Today, March 22, is George Benson’s birthday. Among his many hits is the first recorded version of Michael Masser and Linda Creed’s “The Greatest Love of All”, from 1977. Whitney Houston also had a big hit with it several years later.

Creed’s lyrics are about self-esteem and self-empowerment. Show children “all the beauty they possess inside. Given them a sense of pride.” Don’t go “searching for a hero.” Never “walk in anyone’s shadow:”

If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all inside of me

The greatest love of all is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. For most of my life, I rarely heard that message outside of the song. In recent years, however, I’m frequently seeing “Love yourself” memes and hearing the message on podcasts.

What does it mean to “love” yourself?

Dispensing with abstract ideas, I say love is “finding value in and desiring happiness for.” To love yourself is to believe you are as worthy and deserving of happiness as anyone else you may love.

That raises the question of what “happiness” means.

Sometime in the late 00’s, I came across Robert Ringer’s 1977 motivational book Looking Out for #1. Ringer dispensed with complicated definitions of happiness. He understands it to mean, simply, “feeling good.”

Whatever else one may think of Ringer’s views, his understanding of happiness is so simple, and so obvious, that it’s a shame it never caught on.

To “love yourself” is nothing more than to desire to feel good and taking action in thought, word, or deed,to fulfill the desire.

“Feeling good” doesn’t require too much explanation. Each of us knows when we feel better or worse about a particular part of our life, or about our life overall. Feeling better is in the direction of feeling good.

James Leroy Wilson

Former activist. Writer with a range of interests from spirituality to sports.