Chapter 13 of the Tao Te Ching speaks to ego or self-love and the dangers that lie with that versus the great that can come from recognizing the self as a part of the world and loving the self through loving the world.
I think most people are aware of our very human need for recognition and praise as well as the subsequent fear of mockery or disgrace. Both of these driving forces come from the ego or what Lao Tzu terms the self. Remove the sense of self and we lose controlling forces of favour and disgrace.
But if you value yourself as a small part of the world and turn your love to others then you will be raised as you raise them. Your joy will come not from recognition rather it will come from helping others find joy. I think this is a wonderful truth.
As always thanks goes to Derek Lin’s Tao Te Ching Annotated and Explained.
Favour and disgrace make one fearful
The greatest misfortune is the self
What does “favour and disgrace make one fearful” mean?
Favour is high; disgrace is low
Having it makes one fearful
Losing it makes one fearful
This is “favour and disgrace make one fearful”
What does “the greatest misfortune is the self” mean?
The reason I have great misfortune
Is that I have the self
If I have no self
What misfortune do I have?
So one who values the self as the world
Can be given the world
One who loves the self as the world
Can be entrusted with the world