Self Love: The Lesson Through Which All Other Lessons Are Realized
There is a wholeness that calls to all people, we are born with its song ringing in our ears, and yet we come to know it first by its absence. For most people, the time comes in adulthood when the emptiness within us grows so large it can not be filled externally. And running from fears becomes a fight that we can’t keep fighting.
This is the awakening. The point at which we stop dead in our tracks and decide that the fight is over. A kind of serenity is born of this acceptance. We see that “happily ever after” is never a place that can be found in the world that surrounds us. It is only a state that becomes from within. We chase it as if it’s a drug. We chase it out of need because the absence of it within us is so deep and vacuous it becomes a kind of living torture. We become addicts to a drug we can never find when the answer is with us all along. What is this wholeness you ask? This wholeness is love. This wholeness is love of the self.
Self love is the trump card. It is the root around which everything grows. It is the apex of our journey here. And in truth, it is the only practice. Love transforms everything unlike itself. What this means is, when a person takes on the practice of self love, they are committing to the re-surfacing and peeling back of everything that is unhealed and unloving about them. You cannot complete this journey to self love without moving through the processes of awareness, truth, equanimity, forgiveness, self-reliance, trust, responsibility, gratitude, realization, compassion, unity, freedom, letting go, joy and boundless love. It is the spiritual journey through which all other journeys are realized.
Most of us were taught indirectly growing up that self love was selfish and conceited. We were taught that self deprecation was virtuous, we were taught this by adults who confused humility with prostration. It is for this reason that we must learn for ourselves what self love is and what self love isn’t.
People whom are traditionally seen as “selfish and conceited” do not love themselves, instead, they are people who do not recognize oneness and who feel such profound lack in their own lives that they feel the need to take from others and to hoard. They cover over their insecurities with self defeating pride.
On the contrary, people who show themselves love are filling in their own internal need to such a degree that there is overflow. And in that abundance, they do not feel lack. They do not need anything from others. Instead, their love spills over to others. They are honest about their weaknesses and strengths, knowing that they have no bearing on over all worth... and in that honesty, they find the stable platform of humility.
Self love is the desire for the highest good of the self. Expressing self love means to recognize one's own unwavering worth and deserving which cannot be added to or taken away from, merely obscured or highlighted and then to subsequently choose actions and thoughts which align with the highest good for the self.
Self love is the state of wholeness or self unity. It is the state and focus of pure appreciation of the self. This focus leads to confidence, self- approval, self- regard, self-admiration and a deep level of inner peace and pleasure.
Perhaps it is most important to note that on a Vibrational level, self love is the state of total non resistance to the self. And so in order to begin loving yourself, you may have to first look for the ways that you are resisting yourself and resisting where you are. Look for ways that you can identify that you are not showing love to yourself, and from that understanding, begin to form a picture of what new decisions you could make.
People who love themselves pick the path of least resistance. Picking the hard way is not virtuous… it is self punishment. Look for what there is to appreciate about yourself. What do you really admire about yourself in this very moment (which is the honest truth of where you are)? Look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be what you think is “perfect”. The only way to be free is to stop trying to compete with the image of perfection inside your head. Love what is now about you. Find a way to decide it is not only exactly where you should be, but it is enough. You are enough.
In the beginning of this process, most of us are standing so fully in the mindset of self hatred that we can not even get a taste of love. And so instead of fighting to find that vantage point, we can ask ourselves continuously throughout the day - and most especially when there is a decision to be made... “What would someone else who loved themselves do right now if they were standing in my shoes?”.
The journey to self love begins with honoring yourself and who you really are. This means you must be brave enough to tell the highest truth, which is that we are powerful beings capable of creating joy and success or pain and suffering in our lives. We are not destined to be victims. We have the power to choose, and this power is both the greatest responsibility we have and the greatest opportunity.
Telling the honest truth, especially to ourselves, can be a daunting task because it means that we have to admit that we have not been living according to our own joy, desires and values. Honoring ourselves and who we really are means that we must be willing to withdraw our investment in other people’s opinions of us because no one knows what makes us happy but us. And if we commit to living according to our own truth, we must be willing at times to take risks to change course and go in an entirely different direction. We can not hope to ever be happy if we are unwilling to take this risk.
Self love means honoring our feelings and responding to those feelings. Feelings, (like a compass) are in place to tell us whether we are at any moment faced in the direction of our true selves (and that which we desire) or in the opposite direction of it. This is why the most important thing to recognize in life is how you feel. If you are brave enough to make feeling good your number one priority, all other conditions in your life will simply fall into line.
Self-love involves recognizing that you are constantly evolving into a more powerful and more loving being and that where you are, is just where you are. Where you are is perfect in relation to where you have been. From a space of self love, the desire for self betterment comes from the desire for the highest good for yourself, not because you are thinking you not good enough or need fixing because you’re somehow unlovable if you don’t.
People who truly love themselves, do not think about beliefs in terms of what is true. Instead, they keep only beliefs which are useful and beneficial to them. They let go of what no longer serves them. Reach for an understanding of yourself. Reach to understand why you choose limitations in your life and admit to what scares you.
We are often taught by life experiences that being helpless is the way to get attention and love. Look at your own (as well as other peoples) attempts to get acceptance, attention and love. Ask yourself, "what was I taught about being lovable? What was I taught about being responsible for my life?" It is not our fault that we learn these patterns, but we can change them. We do not need to let these fears keep us from what we want. They do not need to have power over us. Loving yourself means no longer letting fear operate your life for you.
Loving yourself also means forgiving yourself. Forgiveness is much like setting a prisoner free, only to discover that you were the prisoner all along.
Quite often in life, when we do not make immediate harmony of things that cause us to suffer, they become wounds of the mind — wounds we carry with us in our consciousness and sub consciousness every day. The pain becomes like shackles we are so used to living with that we do not even realize we have the power to take them off. In truth, forgiveness has nothing to do with anyone other than us. Though it can feel very good to a receiving party, forgiveness is only ever about ourselves. Whether it is someone else we are forgiving or ourselves we are forgiving, forgiveness is only ever unilateral. We do not need the other person present in order to forgive them — or ourselves. The healing takes place within oneself alone. Forgive yourself for having made mistakes, mistakes have no effect on worth and contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is strong not weak.
Many of us have an untrue, self limiting core belief that if we forgive ourselves, we are allowing or pardoning weakness and thus are out of control of our own actions. This is scary to most of us, because we believe that if we are out of control of our own actions, we will hurt other people. This is something we believe because somewhere in our early lives, we adopted the untrue belief that something is inherently wrong with us and that we are inherently “bad”. So withholding forgiveness from one's self can become a form of control over one's self that becomes like punishment, which we are taught is virtuous and “good”. In this way, withholding forgiveness from one’s self becomes like self abuse. It is because of this that to forgive one’s self, one must look for proof of and cultivate trust in one’s own inherent goodness.
All of us upon this earth know what love is. We may not know it as a cerebral concept, but we all know it inherently. The reason we know it is because at our most basic level, we are it. We, in our physical bodies, are not separate from source energy. We are instead extensions of source energy and source energy is the exact vibrational equivalent of love.
Therefore, love is not something we can ever escape. It is a constant, and it is our choice whether we resist it or whether we allow it in this life. The universe is literally made of love. And as such, love is your birthright. If we will just open ourselves to receiving it, like flowers opening to the sun, anything and everything becomes possible. You will create your life the way you want it to be. And you will be able to say “I love myself” and really mean it.