By Tania Kotsos
UPDATED: NOV 2020
To learn to love yourself is 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 the love you have for yourself. To learn to love yourself is not some feel-good advice to boost your self-worth. 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, however, and you will find that at its very core is the command to love yourself.
First, let us dispel some myths about what it means to learn to love yourself. Self-love is not about being arrogant or thinking you are better than others. It is not about comparing yourself to others to determine your self-worth or if you are good enough. To learn to love yourself 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'.
To learn to love yourself is to be in awe of the miracle of your existence. It is to accept yourself as you are—the 'light' and the 'dark' aspects of your personal self, the 'good' and the 'bad' while knowing that your True Self is above these perceived dualities of the Physical Plane. To learn to love yourself is to be willing to receive as much as you are willing to give, and to do both equally in the name of balance. It is about knowing 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.
To learn to love yourself is about taking care of yourself—your mind and your body while aspiring to your Spirit. It is about only thinking and speaking well of yourself and imagining the best for you, knowing that anything less is an injustice to you. It is about knowing you are worth it and deserve everything you may desire without question. Not because of what you have achieved or what you look like or what others think of you or any outwardly criterion, but because love is your birthright. Because Absolute Love, which has no opposite, is your true nature.
In the words of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, "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." Read these words carefully and realise that to learn to love yourself is a virtue.
Take a moment to think of what 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 the time to write them all down in your journal. Make sure to exhaust your list. What you will find is that what you most want to hear from others is what you most need to tell yourself. To learn to love yourself, therefore, is also about telling yourself everything that you wish you would hear from others.
By doing the above exercise, you will have a list of positive affirmations and autosuggestions tailor-made for you. Repeat them every day, morning and night and include them in your creative visualization sessions. Really feel how it would feel to know that you already are loved, admired, accepted, appreciated and forgiven—all beyond measure. And if you can't quite yet feel all this for yourself, know that it always has been what your True Self feels for you. Believe and feel that you are loved beyond measure, and nothing can ever change that. You will soon learn to love yourself and enjoy a sense of self-love and inner peace of the kind you perhaps have never had before.
It may seem like an obvious statement that you can only give of what you have, or else, 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, and to give it freely, you must first have love. To have love, learn to love yourself. Only then will you be able to truly love others for the pure joy of love itself. Give the love, the kindness, the caring, and whatever else you wish to experience with others, to yourself first. And when you learn to love yourself in this way, you will find all your relationships transforming as if by magic and most importantly the one with yourself.
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The Single Source of All Love is The Absolute of which you are a Divine Spark. Throughout history this Single Source has gone by many names—God, The All, The One to name but a few. It is the Source of All Love. It is Absolute 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 for life itself. You will know that to love yourself is to love The One, and to love The One is to love yourself. And then learning to love yourself truly becomes effortless because it will be your of way of being.
Absolute Love has no opposite. It cannot be compared to a state of non-love and it does not discriminate between what is loved and what is not loved. Absolute Love is not an emotion but rather it is the absence of all the ever-changing emotions of the relative world. This is because love in the relative world is exclusive, whereas Absolute Love is All-Inclusive. Since The Absolute’s Love is absolute, It does not love one aspect of Life any more than any other, and nor does It love one aspect of Life less today than It did yesterday, or more than It will love it tomorrow.
Being unconstrained by time and space, the Absolute or God loves every aspect of Itself equally, infinitely and eternally—including you! It stands to reason, therefore, that you are always loved absolutely (always have been and always will be). And since The Absolute is always in favour of the highest expression of All Life, it includes your life in every way. You are loved absolutely no matter how many mistakes you have made, no matter what thoughts you think, no matter how deserving or not you may believe you are, no matter what you desire, no matter how much you love yourself or not, and regardless of whether you realise it or not. You are already loved and always will be.
To learn to love yourself is a win-win for yourself and for everyone and everything you encounter. It provides you with an inner joy, self-confidence and peace of mind that is not easily swayed by outside events and opinions. It empowers you to make healthier choices and the best decisions across all areas of your life based on a deep sense of self-worth. It frees you to stop comparing yourself to others as a yardstick of your own success, and instead to truly rejoice in the good fortune of others rather than wondering 'why, not me?' or even resenting it. It makes you more genuinely loving towards others and invokes a desire to be of greater service to the world.
The more you learn to love yourself, the more everything and everyone you encounter benefits. Ask yourself this: 'Since everything and everyone is a projection of my consciousness, then how can I possibly love anyone else without loving me?' You can't! So love yourself—it is truly the greatest love of all!