Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi
In our western society many of us struggle with self-love, considering it selfish. Often we feel inadequate and judge ourselves harshly. We do not even question our self-loathing, assuming that it is part of the human condition. But is it really so? Well, it is not… 🙂 Read this extract from the article The Self-Hatred Within Us written by Sharon Salzberg. It is about a conversation she had with the Dalai Lama back in 1990.
“Your Holiness, what do you think about self-hatred?” He looked at me seeming somewhat confused and asked in response: “What’s that?” […] When I explained to him what I meant by the term — talking about the cycle of self-judgment, guilt, unproductive thought patterns — he asked me, “How could you think of yourself that way?” […] In other words, he simply didn’t get the fact that many of us are often overcome with fundamental feelings of negativity and inadequacy.
Why is it so difficult for us to deeply love who we are?
Since we are children, we hear and internalize the messages You are not … enough and You do not have enough … (fill in the spaces with whatever resonates with you). Often we unconsciously believe that there is something terribly wrong with us that needs to be fixed. Since we desperately want to feel enough, we constantly try to do or get something that can fill this empty space inside ourselves. But it never works… Nothing has the power to fix us… The reason is simple: There is nothing that needs to be fixed! We got it completely wrong. Self-love happens when we fully accept how we are and what we feel, and we act according to that. Love flows when we reconnect to the deepest part of our being.
My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am. — Anaïs Nin
When we love ourselves, we are free to blossom into our most authentic selves 🙂
I believe one of our souls’ major purposes is to know, love, and express our authentic selves. To live the life and be the person we were created to be. However, our true selves only emerge when it’s safe to do so. Self-condemnation, shame, and guilt send your true nature into hiding. It’s only in the safety of gentle curiosity, encouragement, and self-love that your soul can bloom as it was created to do. — Sue Thoele
Unfortunately, often we are told that we should care more about others, put their needs first, because prioritizing ourselves is selfish. Over time we equate love with sacrifice. What is the problem with this idea? We cannot give what we do not have. It is as simple as that.
I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt. — Maya Angelou
When we are in a state of lack, we cannot really love unconditionally another person, because we desperately want something from them. It might be love, care, safety, validation or attention. Since we do not know how to give these things to ourselves, we consciously or unconsciously want them from other people. This is not authentic love, it is called attachment. How do you know the difference? Love feels good: in this state you are peaceful and connected. Attachment is like being on a roller coaster: you feel detached or anxious and at times excited. Love is energizing, attachment is draining.
Being able to love authentically another person begins with loving ourselves. When we focus our attention inwardly, we recognize in every moment what our real needs are and we can act accordingly. Once our personal reservoir of love is full, we can authentically give to others, without conditions. Love just flows. In this state we are able to accept other people exactly as they are, letting them free to be their most authentic and vulnerable selves with us.
Nurturing your own development isn’t selfish. It’s actually a great gift to other people. — Rick Hanson
How can we cultivate self-love in our daily life? You can find some suggestions in How to Make Self-Love a Practice: Some Ideas to Help You Bloom Into Your Most Authentic Self 🙂
Self-love is an energy, one that we use to know ourselves, heal ourselves, and accept all that is within us. This inward movement transforms our being, dramatically enhancing our awareness of who we are, our understanding of the universe, and our capabilities as an individual. The most beautiful part of this process is that our new sense of compassion towards ourselves does not end with us, it blossoms and flows outward into the lives of others, and ultimately has the capacity, if consistently cultivated, to encompass all beings — Yung Pueblo
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