When the expressions “loving yourself”
or “self-love” are first heard, there may be confusion about
what is meant. This is because we think in terms of the love we are familiar
with, dependent love. If we try to love ourselves, we may take an approach
similar to that used in dependent love, using ourselves as the object of
our love. We may try to escape into ourselves, as we escaped into others.
We may become self-absorbed and self-indulgent, putting our own needs first.
The motive is still to escape. We reject unhappiness and, in so doing, reject
Self-love has nothing to do with using yourself as
the object of your love. Self-love means that your love comes from within,
is generated from within, not from “loving” any object because
it may please you tremendously, whether that object is someone else or yourself.
Self-love is a condition of awareness, a way of perceiving, an attitude,
which results in an integrated perception of the world.
The art of loving yourself begins with self-acceptance.
They are essentially the same. You begin loving yourself when you stop rejecting
yourself, especially on the feeling level. When you practice self-acceptance
of your feelings as they are now, you will experience real changes in consciousness.
You no longer try to juggle people or possessions in the external world
in order to find fulfillment. You find fulfillment from within, simply by
accepting, without acting out, your feelings as they are right now.
Do not underestimate the importance of self-acceptance.
It can end the emotional pain that you feel or lead to the spiritual experience
you want. Starting with the mundane, you will reach the highest of inner
realization. In welcoming all your feelings, you become whole; life becomes
holistic. You experience oneness. You no longer compulsively search for
oneness in the external world, whether with another person or with an achievement.
You accept and love yourself.