One of the great conflicts of Christian witness is the exasperating level of low self-worth and quick remarks and agreement to ‘give up our lives for Jesus.’ We cannot give what we do not have. Self-donation presupposes self-possession. If we do not love and accept ourselves we cannot very easily give to others what we so lack, or do not have. We need to come to responsible selfhood before trying to encourage others in a path and understanding we have not experienced.
Spiritual formation does not require forfeiting ourselves but denying ourselves. One is healthy choice making and the other is cancellation. Proper self-love will always have the denial aspect as a counter-balance for the egocentric tendency in each heart. It is the denial of selfishness for the sake of participation with the neighbor.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Jesus