Self Love - The Greatest Love of All
By Tania Kotsos
Self love forms the foundation of your single, most important relationship - that with yourself. The strength of all your other relationships is exactly equal to the strength of that foundation. To love yourself is not just a self-esteem boosting piece of advice. It is the prerequisite to truly loving others. The Golden Rule tells us to "love your neighbour as you love yourself". You are likely to have heard it many times, expressed in different ways, thinking it is about loving others. Look a little closer though, and you will find that at its very centre is the command to love yourself.
The Mistaken Identity of Self Love: First, let us dispel some myths about what it means to love yourself. Self love is not about being arrogant or egotistical. It is not about comparing yourself to others to determine if you are good enough. It is not about always putting yourself first at the expense of others. It is not about always getting your way. It is not about always winning. It is not about "only looking after number one".
Will the Real Self Love Please Stand Up? To love yourself is to be in awe of the miracle of your existence. It is to accept yourself as you are - the "light" parts and the "dark", the "good" and the "bad" - while knowing that the real you is above the perceived dualities of the physical realm. It is to be willing to receive as much as you are willing to give and do both equally. It is about knowing your values and your boundaries and honouring them. It is about teaching others how to treat you by showing them how you treat yourself. It is about being kind to yourself. It is about looking after your mind, your body and your spirit; all three. It is about knowing you are worth it, not because of what you have achieved or what you look like or what others think of you, but because love is your birthright no matter what.
What Do You Most Need to Hear? Take a moment to think of those things you most need to hear from others. Whether it be that they love you, admire you, accept you just as you are, appreciate you, forgive you or anything else. Take a piece of paper and write them down. Make sure to exhaust your list. You will find that what you most want to hear from others is what you most need to tell yourself. You should now have a list of positive affirmations tailor made for you. Repeat them every day, morning and night and include them in your creative visualization sessions. You will soon enjoy a sense of self love and inner peace that you never had before.
You Can Only Give That Which You Have: It is an obvious statement that you cannot give something that you do not possess, yet so many people desperately love others without having or giving love to themselves. It is little wonder that in time their reserves of love are exhausted and their relationships falter. To give love, you must first have love. To have love, love yourself. Only then will you be able to truly love others for the pure joy of loving them. Give the love you wish to experience to yourself and you will find all your relationships transforming in miraculous ways.
There is a Single Source of All Love: There is a single, intelligent Consciousness that pervades the entire Universe - all knowing, all powerful, all loving, all creative and present everywhere at the same time. Through all of history this Single Consciousness has been revered by many names. God, the All, Brahman, the Universal Mind, to name but a few. It is the Source of All Love. It is Love. When you know and understand the truth that you are one with the One Source of All Love - that your very essence is love - then you will have discovered unconditional love for yourself and unlimited reserves for everyone and everything. You will know that to love yourself is to love the One Creator.
The Benefits of Self Love: Loving yourself is a win-win for all. It provides you with an inner happiness, confidence and peace of mind that is not easily swayed by outside events and opinions. It enables you to make healthier choices and the best decisions across all areas of your life from your intimate relationships to your finances. It allows you to truly rejoice in other people's good fortune rather than wondering "why, not me" or even resenting it. It enables you to be more genuinely loving towards others and to be of greater service to the world at large. Ultimately, the more you love yourself, the more everything and everyone you encounter benefits.
"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." Siddhartha Gautama Buddha
In a nutshell, self love is a prerequisite to loving others. Your relationships are only as strong as the foundation of your self love. Release any belief you may hold that loving yourself is selfish or egotistical and replace it with the truth that your very essence is love, that unconditional self love is your birthright. When you know that you are one with the One Source of All Love, that you are connected to every thing and every one, you will know that you cannot possibly experience true love without first loving yourself. You will have discovered the truth that self love truly is the greatest love of all.