The Australian life coach Linda Doktar had a ceremony to get married to herself last year, but the story has made international news this week. In a Facebook post clarifying misleading reports, the self-worshiping life coach explained that she did not marry herself to “get over painful breakup with ex.”
No, it’s much more scary and depressing than that…
“I did NOT ‘marry’ myself to get over a break up,” Linda Doktar declared in a long Facebook post. “I did NOT ‘marry’ myself to spend the rest of my life on my own. I did NOT ‘marry’ myself to stay away from men.”
“I simply chose to set powerful intentions with a self-love ritual as a form of honouring a more conscious relationship with myself,” the coach wrote. “To love and respect myself for the rest of my life.”
This self-love, and even self-worship, is at the center of Doktar’s philosophy. She concluded her Facebook post with a brief encapsulation of the idea. “YOUR ENTIRE LIFE BEGINS WITH YOU,” she wrote.
“You are the creator of your reality,” Doktar declared. “Your external world will continue to reflect from your inner world. Take a moment to be present with this question… ‘How am I relating to myself?'”
WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT…That a little private self-love ritual on the beach would lead to headlines all around the…
This philosophy of self-embrace, self-confidence, and even self-worship pervades the counselor’s philosophy. Her website describes her as “an expert in helping people connect to the origin of all life creation — Thy SELF.” The site explains her work as “truly Life & Soul transformative and will assist you in becoming the grandest version Self in all areas of your life.”
The website tells Doktar’s “story,” and it sounds like a Christian “testimony.” But this counselor wasn’t saved by Jesus Christ — she was saved by the god of Self.
“Just like you, I have also experienced some struggles and hardships in my journey. I have been disconnected from Self and suffered deeply in silence,” Doktar wrote. “My journey has led me through abusive relationships, a heavy drug addiction, and severe depression, losing a parent, an eating disorder, deep financial hardship and homelessness. I have felt soul-wrenching shame, guilt and self-hatred, and truly mastered the loathing of self-destruction.”
But then “I made a conscious decision to turn my Pain into Power and commenced a journey of becoming the grandest version of Self. My mess became my message and my mission, and I am now deeply committed to being of service to others and helping you live a conscious life of purpose, freedom and fulfillment.”
Her self-marriage wasn’t about getting over a breakup. It wasn’t about rejecting men. It wasn’t about living by herself. It was much, much worse than that. It was about making her Self the most important person in her life. She made vows to herself, looking in a mirror on the beach.
“I just got married!! To MYSELF,” Doktar posted on Instagram after her self-marriage ceremony on Valentine’s Day 2017. “Yesterday I experienced the most powerful self-love & self-marriage ritual known to human kind — to promise to love, honour and respect my soul today, tomorrow and always.”
“Yesterday I made a choice to become my own soulmate & best friend,” she explained. “I AM WHOLE.”
❤ HAPPY VALENTINES DAY ❤ I just got married!! To MYSELF. Yesterday I experienced the most powerful self-love & self-marriage ritual known to human kind – to promise to love, honour and respect my soul today, tomorrow and always. Yesterday I made a choice to become my own soulmate & best friend. I AM WHOLE ❤ It’s your turn to choose you xx www.lindadoktar.com #valentine #valentinesday #happyvalentinesday #love #selflove #selfmarriage #woman #bestfriend #soulmate #powerful #ritual #whole #choose #life #lovecoach #selflovecoach #lifecoach #marriage #wedding #ceremony #beautiful #picoftheday #photooftheday #instadaily #instagood #happy #smile #happiness #ido
Doktar’s “marriage” ceremony took place more than a year ago, but it took off recently thanks to an article in LADBible.
As the counselor posted on Facebook, “a little private self-love ritual on the beach … lead to headlines all around the world 18 months later.”
From a Christian perspective, this woman’s choice of self-definition, self-affirmation, and self-worship is the exact opposite of healthy. This focus on self encapsulates the “Great Sin” of pride, a shrinking away from God and others.
To be fair, Doktar explains that her dedication to Self (she capitalizes it) does not mean she won’t make friends, have relationships, and enjoy companionship with men. But it does mean she has crowned Self as the lord of her life — or in her words becoming “my own soulmate & best friend.”
This self-worship is the natural end of the modern self-esteem movement. Yet in his small book “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness,” Tim Keller points out that it is a trap to try to live up to society’s standards — but it is also a trap to try to live up to your own standards. If you set your standards too high, you fall short. But if you set them too low, you are the despicable person who has low standards.
Doktar may think she is encouraging herself and loving herself, but by making Self the center of her life, she is falling into the trap. True freedom only comes, Tim Keller argues, in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and His gift of a new self. In the forgiveness of God, the verdict that you are somebody, that you are valuable, comes before the performance of having to live up to expectations.
Christianity is not about earning recognition, it’s about being given undeserved recognition and then living out of that unmerited love. Doktar is trying to find that kind of forgiveness and love in her own Self, but if Keller is right she will only fail. Eventually, she will not be able to live up to her own standards.
That’s why her self-worship is actually more dangerous than a self-marriage that involves getting over a breakup or swearing off men.
Watch the ceremony below.