Is love not gracious and living self-giving?
Can love be love apart from self-emptying?
Ah! What is it, then, to think of self first
And foremost while letting others thirst
For genuine, selfless affection that bursts
From a passionately compassionate heart
That puts others first in every part of life?
Yes, this turns modern thought on its head
And puts so much pop psychology to bed!
But let it not be said love is self-centered
When surely we have best been mentored
By those who chose to invest in the other;
Besides which, one learns to love oneself
When he has begun to truly love outside
Of self in an outpouring of adoring love,
For do we ever really learn who we are
Outside of company as our guiding star?
So let us love greatly, both near and far!
Note: This poem is largely in response to not only self-centeredness but also the ideology of radical individualism. It is an aesthetic statement in favor of communialism and the idea that one “finds oneself” within the context of community and, more specifically, that one experiences authentic love in ongoing reciprocity, which begins with the giving of oneself to the other.