The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Selfishness, Happiness, Calvinism, And A.A.


I’ve been thinking of the A.A. way of life (the one taught to me) and the Calvinistic theology and way of life. When I turn my focus inward and on me and God I can be quite happy. Sitting around worrying about the rest of the world can steal my peace and joy. The idea is to love those in your own particular area you are called to. Love your loved ones, yourself, and God. Don’t worry so much about the whole world. As they tell us in the A.A. Big Book:


“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation –
Some fact of my life – unacceptable to me,
And I can find no serenity until I accept
That person, place, thing, or situation
As being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober;
Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms,
I cannot be happy.
I need to concentrate not so much
On what needs to be changed in the world
As on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition p. 417

People have criticized A.A. in this respect as being a “selfish” program. Is that a bad thing? Is taking care of myself first bad? Bill Wilson tells us in “As Bill Sees it”:


I can see why you are disturbed to hear some A.A. speakers say, A.A. is a selfish program. The word selfish ordinarily implies that one is acquisitive, demanding, and thoughtless of the welfare of others. Of course, the A.A. way of life does not at all imply such undesirable traits.

What do these speakers mean? Well, any theologian will tell you that the salvation of his own soul is the highest vocation that a man can have. Without salvation - however we might define this - he will have little or nothing. For us of A.A., there is even more urgency.

If we cannot or will not achieve sobriety, then we become truly lost, right in the here and now. We are of no value to anyone, including ourselves, until we find salvation from alcohol. Therefore, our own recovery and spiritual growth have to come first - a right and necessary kind of self concern.


I have forgotten all of Creation
Only the Creator remains
I have turned my attention
to that which is within me
It is there where I am in love
with the Beloved

St. John of the Cross ~~ Roman Catholic


St. Michael, I totally agree. Loving yourself is of utmost importance. I am not speaking of the self-righteous kind of love. As I look around the world, I see many who do not love themselves, and this can manifest itself in many ways. They have not yet come to realize who they really are, and it is truly a sad thing. This is one of the reasons I have a problem with the Trinity. I know you may disagree with me on this as we have discussed this in previous posts. But, I feel the Trinity does not properly express the true relationship we have with the Father. We are all made of the substance of God. He is a very part of are our being. When we look at Jesus, we should see ourselves, the persons God created us to be. When we unite with the Spirit of God that is inside us, we are Father and Son together a one. Should we come to recognize ourselves as Sons of God, our Father and the Creator of the universe, we can then claim our positions as inheritors of all that is God’s. One of my favorite songs is “Rise” by Danny Gokey. I don’t know if you have ever heard of it, but it is one beautiful song that really brings the message to light.


Thank you LLC. Your comments are always appreciated and filled with wonderful truths. Even if there are minor disagreements between us. I agree that we love ourselves first but it’s the new divine self. The true self. Not the old. We love and worship the SELF not the self. I’m sure that’s what you are referring to. The new SELF is united to Christ. It is found within. Anyway, here’s that fantastic song you are talking about:


St. Michael, Thanks for your comments and for the video, I love it! :stuck_out_tongue:
Yes, as you so wisely put it, our true self is the one that we should be loving. I also love the story in the Bible about Jesus and while He was walking on the water, He called Peter to come out of the boat and meet Him. But, Peter sinks because he lost faith. I don’t think it was because he had no faith in God, for he saw Jesus walking on the water right in front of his very eyes. What Peter lacked was faith in himself( or SELF-ourselves and God together). God knows we are capable of doing great things because He has put Himself inside each of us. We just need to recognize this as well.


:smiley: No problem LLC. Thanks for bringing it up. I’ve never heard that song before. Wonderful. Also, excellent points about Christ. For me it’s more like a peeling away of an onion until I get down to the core me or the true loving and compassionate me. That’s the me I love. The one united to Christ. The false me is that egotistical mean spirited person driven by a hundred forms of unhealthy fear and self-delusion.

Maybe the journey is not so much about becoming anything. Maybe it is about unbecoming everything that is not really you, so that you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. - unknown

Really this is the original me. The reason I use the language of “new” me is because it’s different than the “old” person I had become through the years. You can’t put new wine in old wineskins. I guess it’s better for me to understand it by calling it the true me of the real and original me. The Christ consciousness. Like you say it is within each individual if we search for it.


St. Michael, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head! :smiley:


There is no need to tell people to love themselves. All of them do that naturally. Everyone has self-esteem. Paul recognized this; that is why he wrote:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

Just because a person claims to hate himself, doesn’t imply that he actually does. The woman who declares, “I’m so ugly I hate myself,” does not in reality hate herself. If she truly hated herself, she would be glad that she’s ugly.


It’s not the true me I hate but the false me. The false me is ego driven. The me that is united to Christ is the loving me. It’s being in love with agape.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I Am In Love With Love

I am in love with love
love is in love with me
my body fell in love
with my soul
and my soul fell in love
with me
we take turns in loving
we take turns in being loved



Paidion, I have to disagree. I see many who have no self esteem at all. They fail to recognize the true beauty that lies within. If the ugly woman truly loved herself, she would be happy despite her physical appearance.


LLC, we need neither self-hate nor self-esteem. As disciples of Christ we need to get away from our occupation with self.

Paul never taught self-esteem. He assumed that people normally have it. That’s why he wrote:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

If we possess “lowliness of mind” as Paul recommended, we will not be into self-esteem or self-love."

Perhaps you have in mind people who have been told from the time they were children that they are useless and good for nothing. That is quite a different matter. What those mentally-abused children need is encouragement, and recognition they they are okay people, rather than trying to get them to love themselves. I was a teacher of elementary children for over 30 years, and I have observed that when children were taught to love themselves, the result was the production of a bunch of arrogant little b----rds. But when they were encouraged, many of them were able to come out of their sense of shame, and their belief in the insulting words with which their abusers had continually put them down.



We put on the new self

The new self is union with love. It’s not ego driven. We lose our self to find our self. ~~ In Christ. We are in love with the Christ within.

The Gaze Of God

Your beautiful gaze captivates me
Bringing to life a calm ecstasy
With your love flowing into me
My world brightens tremendously

Wonderstruck here in your beauty
Cleansed, I can feel the real me
Who I am and have wanted to be
Close to you in a sweet intimacy


What have I said that induces you to tell me this?


I was just trying to clarify in case you didn’t understand. I agree with you that we empty our self. This is the old self. But when we do this we find our true self. The new creation in Christ. We are in love with the Christ within.


Paidion, speaking from personal experience, what you have mentioned in your post is what I am referring to. There might possibly be a better way to phrase it, but to me, esteem means to set a high value on, respect. Just as God loves and values us, I would say that we should have that same love and value for ourselves. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. We cannot possibly fulfill this commandment if we do not come to love ourselves. This love should be equal. If we love the neighbor more than ourselves, this can result in idol worship. Then again, if we love ourselves more than the neighbor, the result is self righteousness.


This is a common misconceived interpretation in our modern self-centered day. None of us need to “come to love ourselves.” We already do that naturally. We serve ourselves first and constantly, and if we have any love left over, we might help a neighbor—but never to the extent that we help ourselves.

God gave the commandment to love our neighbor as ourself, KNOWING, that virtually everyone loves himself; it is human nature. So He asks us to love our neighbor just as much.


Paidion is correct. We empty ourselves and count ourselves as nothing. When all the layers are peeled away we come into union with God. God’s love and beauty unite us to Himself. His holiness separates. That is to say, there are ways we are like God and ways we are not. We find our true self by losing the false self.

The Gaze Of God

Your beautiful gaze captivates me
Bringing to life a calm ecstasy
With your love flowing into me
My world brightens tremendously

Wonderstruck here in your beauty
Cleansed, I can feel the real me
Who I am and have wanted to be
Close to you in a sweet intimacy


In order to reach union with the Divine
it is necessary to leave the intellect behind.
One must let go of things and empty oneself
of everything in order to make room for
the flood of Divine illumination.

St John of the Cross ~~ Roman Catholic

Your love shines through my eyes
for you fill me with Yourself

Rumi ~~ Sufi

I would give my soul to see Your face
to gaze into Your blessed eyes
I sacrifice myself for the sake of love
and cast myself into the flames of love’s passion
What sweet grace; I die so that I might live again
For while you slay me, Lord, it is so that I may live in You

Richard Crenshaw ~~ Protestant

Within the heart, love draws us back to oneness. The heart knows and lives in this oneness, and love takes us from separation to union, from the knowledge of our own self to being lost in God. Love comes from the beyond and carries the stamp of oneness: that He and His creation are one. This is why love is like a magnet that draws us from duality back to oneness. We experience this in human love, how we want to get nearer and nearer to the one we love: emotionally we want to merge, physically we want to unite. Love is a force that pulls us toward union. In human love we are always limited by the fact there are two people. In divine love there is no such limitation. In meditation we can give ourselves completely, merge into the ocean of love, experience the complete oneness that is found within the heart. - Vaughan - Lee ~~ Sufi


The spiritual path isn’t about being somebody. It’s about being nobody. ~~ Ram Dass Vedanta


When God’s Beauty Shines

She told me she emptied herself
An empty vessel she has become
She hides in her own nothingness
I told her she was correct
She is a reflection of His face
When she smiles, His beauty shines