(Substitute self-appreciation for self-love if it feels better to you)
I believe one of the most common misconceptions in our western culture is that if you love yourself you won’t have as much love for others. This was definitely the message that I got growing up. I held the somewhat unconscious belief that if you loved yourself you would get all puffed up, spend all day looking in the mirror and forget about everyone else.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus said “love thy neighbour, as thyself”. He didn’t say “love thy neighbour instead of thyself”. One of the most wonderful, amazing and exciting aspects of truly learning to love yourself is that you naturally and spontaneously love others more; a lot more.
This reminds me of a telephone conversation I had with my ex-husband about 3 months after my decision and commitment to, once and for all, drop the self-judgement and self-criticism and embrace myself as the innocent, perfect, whole and beautiful human being that the Buddha described as our deepest nature; more commonly known as our Basic Goodness or Buddha Nature.
My Ex and I had been catching up on the comings and goings of our children (six between the two of us) when towards the end of our conversation, out of the blue, I felt this upwelling of love and I heard my self saying “I love you”. I have come to expect these outbursts of loving feelings as more the norm now instead of the exception. It is one of the many, many wonderful by-products of learning to love yourself.
For many of us (me included) learning to love ourselves has been a challenging, life long process but I have come to believe that there is absolutely nothing that is more important or should have a higher priority in our lives. It is the secret to allowing every good thing into your life! In upcoming posts I will be talking about the practical ways we can foster self-love and self-appreciation in order to make this journey as quick and painless as possible. I can’t promise it will always be fun but it is Oh So Worth it!