The self is “the total, essential, or particular being of a person; the essential qualities distinguishing one person from another; one’s consciousness of one’s own being or identity; the ego; one’s own interests, welfare, or advantage. Self is a permanent subject of successive and varying states of consciousness; what one is at a particular time or in a particular aspect or relation, one’s nature, character, or sometimes physical constitution or appearance, considered as different at different times. Philosophically stated, self is often identified with the soul or mind as opposed to the body. Psychologically, self is an assemblage of characteristics and dispositions that we may conceive as constituting one of various conflicting personalities within a human being.”The Oxford English Dictionary

“Abhor the love of self.”—Edna Lister

Our task in living in the world is to learn how to love God more than we love our own self and its desires, appetites and impulses. Self-love puts self first, but soul love places God in the top slot. Do not mistake self-love for self-esteem, which is rightly defined as having a good opinion of one’s self. The most popular term for self-love today is narcissism. 1

Edna Lister on Self-Love

Abhor the love of self.—Edna Lister, December 26, 1938.

Love for self creeps in and colors soul vision.—Edna Lister, April 29, 1941.

Do not aggrandize self, or act in a way just to be thought great, for self-love cancels itself out.—Edna Lister, October 3, 1941.

You do not know law if the least thing can cause you to blame, condemn or love the self.—Edna Lister, November 2, 1944.

Love that first thinks of self weakens the soul, and does little work because it is diluted Spirit substance, not love’s pure golden essence.—Edna Lister, July 31, 1945.

Decrees made from self-centered love create indifferent results at best, and an explosion of negative evil at worst. The self-lover loses friends and his ability to "know," even while he is gaining his desires. Soul-centered love gains everything, lifts everything, and receives ten thousandfold in strength, success, beauty, compassion, and all the fruits of the Spirit. Selfish love ends with ten thousandfold minus, worse than nothing, a zero, frozen ice.—Edna Lister, Promises Fulfilled, March 4, 1948.

Love is a great mystery of life, the only magnet earth has. The whole travail of life is to reach true love, the point where all else is added, to step into the Source of magnetic attraction that is the pure love of God. Pure love draws all to itself and turns everything into itself, even selfish love.—Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

Selfish love is interested only in itself and its relationships. The little self lives for things in the world, and it never realizes the materialism and tiny limits of its world of affairs. The self-lover imagines people are talking about him when he enters a room. Selfish love makes a person more aggressive and overbearing, with only a splash of real personality.—Edna Lister, The Living Chalice, December 7, 1952.

You keep slipping until you dig out all the roots of self love.—Edna Lister, The Living Chalice, December 7, 1952.

Self-pity is love of self. Taking offense is loving "little me" more than all else. You can express the full Love of God but not when you know only self.—Edna Lister, July 23, 1955.

Self love puts self first, but soul love places God in the top slot.—Edna Lister, God So Loved, October 30, 1955.

Love of self pampers and excuses self, it’s always right, always hurt, always grim — no laughter, no smiles, no joy.—Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 11, 1955.

The watch-words of self love are "me" and "mine." Its keynote is love of "things," love of family, love of one’s own life.—Edna Lister, The Three Loves, April 15, 1956.

An emotional self-love always reaches, grabs and snatches what "I want." When no one meets its demands, it sits and waits, but never serenely, always with resentment and blame for someone. It controls the life, and in it, you find no freedom.—Edna Lister, Nourishing Love, May 13, 1956.

Self love is the heaviest burden in the world. It rides the soul with a whip and spurs, until it finally collapses of its own weight in a so-called "nervous breakdown." Self love is always too busy, too tired, too hurried, too self-satisfied. Its chief hallmark, self-pity, is nothing more than a sentimental love for the self.—Edna Lister, Nourishing Love, May 13, 1956.

You can misuse or waste a self-love but not the Love of God, which is untainted.—Edna Lister, March 7, 1957.

"Whom the Lord loves, He chastens."—Hebrews 12:5. God chastens you to strengthen the weakest link in your chain of Love of God, which is the strongest link in your self-love.—Edna Lister, September 30, 1957.

You cannot live in a house divided between the love of self and the love of God.—Edna Lister, April 27, 1958.

All love is worthy unless it is a selfish love.—Edna Lister, December 1, 1958.

If the love of God permeates you, you do not know love of self, or hate or condemn another.—Edna Lister, I Am the Way, October 4, 1959.

Self love is soul torture and its inner conflict tears you apart.—Edna Lister, Behold, I Am With You Always, November 1, 1959.

The only way you can cut through self love to become the Love of God.—Edna Lister, From Gethsemane to Ascension, May 15, 1960.

Choice is free, but the results of your exercise of free will depend on how you choose, between the love of God or love of self.—Edna Lister, The Ladder of Faith, December 18, 1960.

Dilute nothing with love of self.—Edna Lister, Power to Transform, December 4, 1962.

Worldly love is self love, love turned inward.—Edna Lister, Appreciation Is a Love Affair, May 16, 1965.

Love is timeless, measureless and works as one. It is always the right time and right place. Self love is "too tired, too weary" and too self-satisfied to be in the right place at the right time.—Edna Lister, Appreciation Is a Love Affair, May 16, 1965.

You actually move upon an axis of balance, a rod of Power, inflexible and constant as the rotation of the planets, if you hold your position through Love of God. Love of self throws you off this delicate balance in an instant.—Edna Lister, Five Important Steps in Ascension, 1968.

1^ "Narcissism, pathological self-absorption, first identified as a mental disorder by the British essayist and physician Havelock Ellis in 1898. Narcissism is characterized by an inflated self-image and addiction to fantasy, by an unusual coolness and composure shaken only when the narcissistic confidence is threatened, and by the tendency to take others for granted or to exploit them. The disorder is named for the mythological figure Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection."—Encyclopedia Britannica.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of self: Old English self, sylf, "self, same."

Etymology of love: Old English leof, "dear, beloved."

Self-love is a soul taint.


It is a poor centre of a man’s actions, himself.—Francis Bacon


Bacon, Francis. "Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self," Essays, Civil and Moral, Volume III, Part 1. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier and Son, 1909.

Rhodewalt, Frederick. s.v. "narcissism". Encyclopedia Britannica, 22 Aug. 2022. Accessed 24 October 2022.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Related Topics

See Self-Exaltation

See Selfishness