Love Begins With Self- Love
The world is a projection of the mind. If we are sad the world looks sad, and if we are happy the world feels like a happy place. If we are full of fear then people, places and events bring fear into our hearts, and if we are without fear, we experience freedom everywhere. We each have our own heaven and hell within and we project them onto the world around us. A sunset may be beautiful for someone experiencing joy within, while the same sunset may be sad for someone who has just lost a loved one.
The same is true for love. If we love ourselves, then the world is full of love. If we are hateful or fearful of our own bodies, emotions and thoughts, it is difficult to love others. We project the rejection and resentment that we feel for ourselves onto our surroundings. We may act as if we love others. We may even have convinced ourselves of this love, but such love does not emerge from the depths of our heart. It is merely the fulfillment of a need, or a social formality. We may use the word love but it doesn’t carry the energy of true intimacy.
Self love is about loving our bodies, feelings, emotions and thoughts and expressing that affection toward ourselves. Love is an essential component of physical and psychological well-being. It is always there, but it may be buried beneath layers of social, cultural and religious conditioning.
Self-Love is not selfishness. It is not self-indulgence or narcissistic attachment to, or obsession with, our body or mind. In narcissism, the absorption or attachment with the self is so great that we become oblivious to the needs and desires of others. People become merely tools for self-gratification. A narcissistic person lives in isolation away from the world and nature.
Rarely do we love ourselves totally. Sometimes we are attached to ourselves and become self-absorbed. Often we don’t like or may even hate ourselves. We repress or ignore those parts of our being, which we feel are unworthy and ugly. This results in a fragmented self. Instead of feeling an integrated wholeness within, we divide ourselves into the “good” and “bad.” These parts are in constant conflict with each other. The “bad” is repressed, ignored and rejected by the “good.”
Self-love is a movement from fragmentation to wholeness, from self-hatred and guilt to affection, and from a manufactured self-image to living with reality. It is an action towards total self-acceptance, in which one lives without fear and guilt. If we love ourselves and feel affection towards our body, feelings and thoughts, that love and affection will fill the vessel of our body and mind. This love will spill into the world around us and transform us. In such a transformation, self-love and self-affection become love and affection for others. Such love includes the world, nature, whole universe and eventually expresses itself as unconditional love.