Many years ago, I was working in a hospital with a very large laboratory. Like all organizations, there was an organized hierarchy with all of the employees reporting to their respective managers and supervisors leading to the laboratory manager at the top. As a pathologist and medical director, I was not an employee of the hospital but had a horizontal position with the laboratory manager. While the middle managers did not directly report to me, I interacted with all of them and soon learned their personality quirks and individual management styles. One of them could best be labeled a trouble-maker. Posing as an advocate for the employees, he fostered a toxic atmosphere by introducing ideas that would pit the employees against the upper management.
One day, I had a discussion with my laboratory manager who was lamenting the drama that was unfolding in the laboratory because of this employee’s actions. “I’ve seen this before with others.” she began. “They are usually in middle management and in charge of a small group. They are insecure and do not have a good sense of their own self-worth so they gather people around them to validify and boost their self-esteem. They do this by creating a divisive atmosphere, convincing others that only he has their backs and is watching out for them.” He paused and lamented. “I think the problem is he doesn’t love himself.”
It was an intriguing observation. Whether it was true for this middle manager, I was unsure, however my laboratory manager’s statement did touch upon a very important point. Self-esteem is important for one’s psychological balance. We need to first love ourselves before we can love others.
To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.
Proverbs 19:8 (NLT)
The danger arises when we substitute the approval of others or fill it with material possessions to give us the illusion of self-love. Ultimately our self-worth and self-esteem comes not from the approval of others but from God’s love, grace, and mercy. God created us in His image and we can only truly love ourselves when we understand that God first loved us. How do we know this? God sent His only Son to live on this earth. Whoever confesses and repents of their sins and accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will have salvation and eternal life.
We love each other because he loved us first.
1 John 4:19 (NLT)
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.