Be honest. Have you ever felt that it was easier to love another person than to love yourself?
Don’t we all at some point, to some degree?
It saddens me. How did this happen? Why aren’t we taught to love ourselves? At what point did we receive and continue to reinforce the message that to proclaim and prove love for oneself is wrong? We learn that it’s downright selfish.
As a parent, I want my daughter to know and love herself, expect the best of and for herself, and live her greatness. To know that at some point she may not, reinforces the job I have to do. At age four, I already see the occasional sign of doubt creeping in. I take a step back and look at myself. What messages am I sending through the expression of my own self-love?
How much of my behaviour reinforces the sentiment, "Do what I say, not what I do”?
Yet Buddha teaches that, "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.”
So, what would it look like if we gave ourselves the same love and affection that we willingly share with others, sometimes at our expense?
Perhaps we would choose careers that nurture and inspire us, allowing us to share our unique abilities with others. I work with so many people who are in the process of career change who just need a reminder that they have every right to choose to be happy in their work. Perhaps it’s even a responsibility.
Maybe we would commit to regular self-care activities, even it it’s fifteen minutes of quiet to maintain our sanity or to remember what we’re passionate about. We would do this despite all of the other responsibilities we have going on around us.
Or, perhaps we would be more aware of that negative voice in our head and learn how to work with it, rather than letting it stop us from living our fullest life.
We might take more risks. We might have more fun. We might make deeper connections. We might set more boundaries. We might dream bigger dreams for ourselves. We might truly believe in the magic that we all have within us.
Lynn Andrews shares that, "A person of power attains their goal and remains whole as a person. To truly have power, you must first love yourself enough to stay in your own center of truth." As we claim our own personal power through self-love, I would argue that we are more able to extend genuine love to others. What more powerful force is there to contribute?
If you choose to genuinely love yourself in 2006, how will your life change?
Marla Hunter-Bellavia is a freelance writer and owner of Ocean Spirit Communications. She can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org