Jesus Creed


What about the idea that you must love yourself before you can love others? Jean Twenge, in her new book, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled–and More Miserable Than Ever Before, takes on this question.

Studies show that this is easy to get backwards. Barbara Walters to Hugh Downs: “Oh, Hugh! First of all, you have to like yourself before you can like others.” Well, maybe; well, it depends; well, this can lead to a generation that is far too concerned with exploring itself as a path to learning to love others … with the latter never accomplished.

Self-focus is an issue: “We are told that we need to know ourselves and love ourselves first, but being alone sucks” (91). The truth “is that human beings do need other people to be happy” (91).

Do you think loving yourself is discovered best by focusing on yourself for a period of time (as is the case with many iGens) or by learning to love others? Is loving yourself something we learn from loving others or do we learn to love others by loving ourselves?

Back to self-esteem: “We gain self-esteem from our relationships with others, not from focusing on ourselves” (92). People need people. Fact. All the studies show this: “Study after study shows that people who have good relationships with friends and family are the happiest” (92). Narcissists don’t get along with others.

A researcher, Keith Campbell: “If I were to name the top 10 things that are important for a good relationship, loving yourself wouldn’t make the list” (93). iGens tend to fight with others because of their sense of self-importance.

And studies now on iGen marrieds reveals something: the turn away from self that occurs with marriage and having children is disrupting iGens more than previous generations. Thus, they are less happy than previous generations in this stage of life.

Focusing on the self leads to these features, all demonstrable about iGens as a medium of self-expression more than previous generations:

1. Appearance obsession
2. Tattoos, nose piercings, and God-knows-where piercings
3. Extending adolescence beyond all previous limits (most say adulthood begins at 30)
4. Materialism 

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