John admits it’s been a long and arduous journey to develop self-awareness. The act of loving others has helped him develop deeper self-knowledge. Relationships have been most helpful in facing and understanding himself more rapidly and profoundly than any other aspect of worldly life.
John realised he needed the humility to listen and understand. A gentle rebuke from a friend can puncture our false ego and make us deeply aware of who we are, and that has been John’s experience. While in conversation, he controls his impulse to speak without fully listening. He makes sure to hear what the other person says, often clarifying and repeating the words used. He has learnt over the years that he has misunderstood and misinterpreted messages and ideas because of his preconceptions, biases, and wishes.
When God wanted to communicate intimately with humanity He created, He humbled himself to become one of us, though sinless. Jesus, the incarnation of God knows us and call us to know Him in order to know who we are. Loving God and our neighbour as ourself becomes a path of awakening, rousing us from the sleep of old, unconscious patterns of behaviour. This produces the freshness and immediacy of living more fully in the present, in accord with who we really are, children of our heavenly Father. To be in intimate relationship with Christ is the source of a deeper kind of joy, which goes far beyond pleasure and comfort, and is the only real basis for healthy and satisfying relationships.
We love ourselves in intimacy with our Creator God, who affirms us and journeys with us and leads us to go beyond ourselves toward a greater connectedness with the whole of life. Even in the case of a marital relationship, there will be room to grow only when the focus is beyond self. Their relationship will mature as they find their joy in the Lord. Truly, as John experienced, the path of love expands in ever-widening circles as it focuses beyond self.