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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Monday, June 19, 2006

Loving Yourself

Part of loving others is discovering that you yourself are a wondrous being that has something valuable to share. And that without this understanding of the value of who you are and the value of being who you are, your ability to "be" for others is thereby restricted or diminished.

We have all heard it said that you cannot love others unless you love yourself. What I have found is that you can love others but only to the extent and depth that you have learned to love yourself. It is only when you begin to experience the abundance of love that is naturally available from the universe that you will begin to see that this abundance is there for everyone. Then and only then will you truly be able to feel this love for others. Until you, yourself feel the abundance of love that is available you will treat love as a scarce commodity to be coveted and rationed. You will fear others and regard them as rivals. You will feel possessive toward those in your life who express love for you and try to restrict their lives. You will restrict yourself in unnatural ways in order to insure others will continue to love you. Who better to give this love to yourself but yourself? The ironic paradox is that the more you love yourself, the more you can love others.

Love is a verb as well as a noun. It is a feeling and a practice that can be enhanced with exercise to become a way of being with everyone in your life including yourself.

When I began to love myself I discovered a depth of love that I had never experienced before. Because I had never experienced this depth of love myself previously I had no idea of what was possible. Now that I know that it is possible and I know it is possible for everyone. I know now that non judgmental unconditional love, that we all seek and hopefully learned from our parents, is possible not only for myself but for everyone. This is the love that is really worth experiencing and sharing.

Whenever I hear the words "unconditional love" now, I think, "duh". Is there really such a thing as conditional love? For me it is an oxymoron. No one really wants conditional love because we realize that if the conditions change the love will be withdrawn.

By learning to love ourselves unconditionally we learn to love others unconditionally as well because we are expierencing love which does not depend on circumstances or conditions. Our love for ourself and others is unconditional simply because we say so.

What does loving yourself look like. Sometimes it looks like saying “No”. It looks like taking care of yourself first, then attending to others. It looks like taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others as well. I doesen’t need to look like taking care of others instead of yourself.

One reason we feel the need to take care of others is to help them succeed in their lives. Realize that to help others you must be strong and capable. You yourself, need to feel loved. You can’t give others what you don’t have yourself.

What is it like to experience unconditional love? Did you experience unconditional love from your parents? How do you find out what it would be like? Do you have to wait or find someone to love you unconditionally? No, that person is as close as your next breath, it is yourself.


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