"I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I 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"
Those lyrics, from White Houston's song "The Greatest Love", are so uplifting, and ring so solidly with confidence.
It's a pity that it's so very wrong.
Well, no. It's a pity that it's BS moto crap that gets way too much air time.
The lyrics base loving yourself on action - on independence, on living as one believes, on having a certain baseline store of dignity that can't be taken away.
But if you don't live up to those...what then? And there is no guarantee that one can live up to ideals like that.
Failure or success may depend on you in a footrace, but not in most of life. The rest of the world has a pretty big vote, and your best, full efforts may fall short, and you may never have had a real chance.
You can live the way you believe, and in most cases society will leave you alone. But would you live as you believe in a prison cell, or in poverty? Would you make your family come along for the ride, living as you believe?
Finally, yes, they can take away your dignity, and your self respect, and everything else. Anyone can be broken. Anyone. I was taught how to do it, and I know.
The greatest love doesn't come from heroic poses, or sloganeering, or even a successful life lived on one's own terms.
The greatest love is Jesus' acceptance of ourselves, fragility, brokenness, inconsistencies, compromises, and all. It's the only love that admits defeat, and in so doing makes the soul invincible.
The greatest love died on the Cross for your sins, and especially for the kind of moronic pride that's expressed in the song quoted above...and rose three days later to slam death to the mat. Permanently.
That doesn't need a motivational song. It just calls for humble gratitude.