Love

"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

What did you do for yourself yesterday that was purely and solely just for you? 

And so far, today, what priority are you giving to yourself?

 

Did you take time out just for you? Not because you are run ragged or exhausted

and need to top up but simply just because you deserve some time for you?

 

What did you enjoy – some quiet time in nature to soothe your spirit and soul,

or perhaps a short while in the garden with your favourite cuppa, perhaps also a

good book or preferred magazine?

 

Or maybe you just took some time to sit in silence, to reflect, to meditate, to just be -

or however you prefer to nourish your soul?

 

Did you lavish yourself with a luxurious bath, your bathroom lit only by scented candles?  

 

Did you lay aside some time for you, your heart, and the Divine to be together?

Every day, it is crucial to your health and well-being that you find time and space that is for no one other than you.  

 

You have to take care of you not only so that you can continue to do all the caring for others that you do, but to nurture and nourish your own health, attend to your own needs and happiness, your joy and fulfilment.

 

This is called Self-Love – and is not narcissistic, indulgent, or selfish. It is essential.

 

To some, Self-Love means merely practical things such as to : -

 

  • Take a duvet day and retreat from the world. Enjoy it, no guilt, and then get back on track.

  • Take time out from technology.  Turn off your phone, computer and TV. 

  • Get a massage, body scrub, facial or book yourself into a spa for a day or weekend.

  • Walk in nature. Be outside and be-friend the birds and wildlife, reminding yourself of the

  • beauty that exists around you always.

  • Treat yourself to what you deserve.

  • Do what you LOVE.

 

These are all valid. And there is more.

 

The Benefits of Self Love

 

You will find on many pages on this website that Loving the self or applying acts of Self-Love

feature highly in recommendations for improving every area of your life, your own health and

well-being. Love is the oil that lubricates and allows to run smoothly every facet of our life and

living – if we believe we are deserving no matter what, our finances, our health, our relationships,

our work – all will be successful and prosperous.

 

Loving yourself benefits not only you, but all of and in the world.

When you Love yourself :-

 

  1. Your thoughts are harmonious, peace-filled, positive, of good intent

  2. Your thoughts create and when your creations are built on Loving foundations, they are assured

  3. You know when decisions you are about to action are not in your best interests – and turn instead to actions of Self-Love.

  4. You make healthier choices and best decisions across all areas of your life from health, spirituality, recreation, well-being, leisure, your relationships to your finances.

  5. You do not engage in acts of self-hatred or self-abuse (consuming intoxicants, engaging in abusive behaviours and attitudes)

  6. You experience Self-Love as provide you with an inner contentment from which flows happiness.

  7. You have self-assurance and confidence, a peace of mind that is not easily swayed by external events and the opinions and behaviours of others.

  8. With peace of mind, you are healed, calm, and the body can be in balance.

  9. All your actions out into the world are of Love – as you give, so you get, multiplied.

  10. You celebrate others’ good fortune rather than wondering "why them and not me" or even resenting others.

  11. You are 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.

  12. It is an attitude of, “You win, I win, we win.”

 

 

Self-love is not about being arrogant or egotistical. It is not about comparing yourself to others to determine if you are good enough, or better than, or worthy, or deserving. It doesn’t mean either always putting yourself first at the expense of others or about always getting your own way. It is not about always winning and certainly not about winning at others’ expense. It is not about "only looking after number one".

 

It is about ensuring you give enough to you to be able to give to others.

 

Your relationship to Self-Love

 

Self-love forms the foundation of the single, most important

relationship you will ever have next to that with the Divine - that

with yourself. The strength and quality of all your other relationships

is determined by and exactly equal to the strength of that foundation.

If you don’t know how to truly Love yourself, how can you possibly

know what is involved in loving others?

 

So often what we think is loving towards others, is simply behaving

in ways so that we can be loved in return. That is conditional love.

It is not true Love. True Love seeks nothing in return. That seeking

expectation is why so many relationships fail. We expect others to

fullfill us and when they don’t, we leave or stay and toxify the

elationship. Only we ourselves can Love ourselves in any true sense.

 

To Love yourself is not just a self-esteem boosting exercise.

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.

 

You must begin this process by giving more to yourself. Give yourself more time; give yourself more attention; give yourself more love; give yourself more of what you want. Then decide how to offer the more that you are (and have) to the world and you will receive even more back in return." It is a basic Universal Law – what you give out comes back to you multiplied.

Do you want more in your life? More love? More happiness? More money? More satisfaction? Then explore how you can BE more.

As a result of carving out time for self-love activities, you feel happier and more positive which leads you to make better decisions such as better food choices and saying no to things you really don’t want to do and people you don’t wish to surround yourself with.

Deeper Self-Love

In my work with people over almost fifty years, I have learned that all humans want the same thing: To be loved and to be happy and to be accepted for the unique human being that they are. Yet they are surprised when I say the source of such love and happiness can really, genuinely, only be found within. Then they say things like, “I hear you talk about self-love and I’m not sure I have it. Or how to do it.  How do you get it?” They become aware that a lack of self-love is stopping them and they’ve never even thought about it!

  1. Self-love is THE most important thing you need in order to have ANYTHING you want, really make you happy, loved, and fulfilled. Without self-love you will constantly be wondering what is wrong with you, why things “never work out” and why you aren’t getting what you want. Self-love is the critical foundation in your happiness and health.

  2. Self-love is about pampering yourself, feeding yourself the right foods, not over-indulging in alcohol and other toxins but it is so much more than just about the physical. It is also about: -

  3. Living in the present moment.  Catch yourself when you are stuck in past-time thinking or fearing the future and come back in to the NOW -  focussing on your breathing can help.

  4. Not caving in to societal norms!

  5. Giving voice to your own unique expression.

  6. You taking personal responsibility for creating your life and not just letting it happen to you.

  7. Defining to yourself what makes you happy and fulfilled and ensuring you take steps toward this each and every day.

  8. Never feeling the need to defend your beliefs or to apologise for them or feeling you have to explain yourself to others. Remember the song, “I am what I am, I am my own special creation!”

  9. Accepting and embracing yourself exactly as you are.

  10. Loving every part of you - your mind, your body, your emotions, your spirituality, your soul - and making no apology for them. We are each a unique expression of the One Source.

  11. Acknowledging your “humanness” and realising that you are always doing the best you can with the knowledge, awareness, and experience you have at that point in your life. When you know different, you can choose to be different.

  12. Feeling your feelings instead of numbing them or denying them. Trust your intuition. 

  13. Forgiving yourself for past mistakes, quitting with the beating up on yourself. We all make mistakes and the key is to learn from them and move on.

  14. Meditating.  By taking time to step away from people, your computer, work and the stresses of everyday life, you allow yourself the opportunity to connect with your spirit, the essence of your being, to not only talk with the divine but to listen.

  15. Eating clean and green, nourish your gut microbiome – eat for health. Dumping the toxic junk and reducing or eliminating your consumption of animal products while eating life-sustaining enzyme-packed plant foods tells your body that you respect it and love it and it will love you right back.

  16. Letting go – be free. Set yourself free from the self-imposed chains you’ve created. If you are regretting a bad decision, wish you’d done something differently or simply keep giving yourself a hard time, forgive yourself for everything you’ve done that you wish you hadn’t.

  17. Accepting failures as simply stepping stones and not a reason to give up on yourself. Failing with grace. It’s a great role model.

  18. Loving your inner critic, managing it, and reframing its critical thoughts.

  19. Having your own code of conduct, your own personal values, your own defined boundaries, and honouring each of them.

  20. Saying “yes” when you truly mean it, and “no” – even when it is hard.

  21. Being true to you; being authentic and genuine. Breaking free from constraints and ways of others.

  22. Letting go of things and people that no longer are serving you and perhaps have become energy drainers.

  23. Attracting into your life the right people and asking for their support and help.

  24. Dreaming and visioning your dream life. Being creative. Accepting that you are deserving of everything you desire.

  25. Taking breaks. Taking risks. Taking inspired action. Thinking big.

  26. Surrendering to what is and letting go of control when necessary. Allowing the Divine to step in.

  27. Being willing to be messy and imperfect and chaotic even in front of others.

  28. Laughing at yourself when it feels right.

  29. Listening to your inner-voice, the voice of God, the divine within.

 

Deeper still – the metaphysical.

 

 

 

Here is a popular quote from the Christian Bible.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance ... love will last forever! (New Living Translation)

As an interfaith minister, I often find at Christian focussed wedding ceremonies, that couples will choose a version of the above to be read during their ceremonies. Readers often race through the text and as I gaze upon guests I wonder how many, especially those to whom the text is new, are really understanding this as more than just a list describing the attributes of Love. Do they realise the depth and profundity and therefore the enormity of what Love is?

Let’s unpick Love a little. Let us go beyond these physical words.

Love is patient means love bears with offenses and is slow to repay or punish those who offend us. It does not mean indifference, or putting up with any kind of behaviour from another.

Love is kind is similar to patience, but refers specifically to how we treat others. It doesn’t mean just being nice and doing good deeds; this kind of love may take the form of a gentle rebuke when careful discipline is needed or providing some tough feedback with the intention of helping another.

Love does not envy – means Love appreciates and rejoices when others are blessed with good things and does not allow jealousy and resentment to take root.

Love does not boast – does not mean you cannot proclaim your skills and talents. It simply means, don’t brag and certainly at the expense of others. It reminds us to be humble as all our skills and talents are in the first place God given so our achievements are not based on our own abilities or worthiness.

Love is not proud – remind us not to be overly self-confident, self-important, arrogant or insubordinate to God and others.

Love is not rude – here we are reminded to care about others, acknowledge their ways, their customs, their concerns, their likes and dislikes particularly when they are different from our own.

Love is not self-seeking – so much of what we do is from a position of “it’s all about me!” But this kind of love puts the good of others before our own good. It places God first in our lives, above our own ambitions and needs.

Love is not easily angered – a reminder that Love is patience and does not rush toward anger when others do wrong as we see it.

Love keeps no record of wrongs – some of us have the tendency to keep score, to stamp collect, we remember all the things a person did that were “wrong” – and then, usually when stressed, we cash in – often misdirected at some undeserving poor soul. This kind of love offers forgiveness, even when offenses are repeated many times.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth  - by seeking to avoid involvement in evil (eg gossip)and by helping others steer clear of evil, too. It rejoices when truth will out.

Love always protects – means we work with others in a safe way that won't bring harm, shame or damage, but will restore and protect them.

Love always trusts and gives the benefit of the doubt, trusting others that their intentions are good and that if they knew differently they would behave differently.

Love always hopes 

Love always perseveres and endures even through the most difficult trials.

Love never fails – love is not some romantic material “thing” – it is the eternal, divine force, and will never cease.

Love is Awesome

To love yourself is to be awestruck by the miracle of your very existence. It is to move beyond the ego’s comment of “Look at me I’m wonderful” to simply, without fanfare, acknowledging to yourself that you are awesome. How often do you stop and wonder – just wonder -  at the wonderfulness of you?

It is to accept yourself exactly as you are – warts and all; the "light" parts and the "dark", the "good" and the "bad" - while knowing that the real you is about more than that.

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, your emotions, and your spirit; all of them. 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 you simply are basically worth it, that love is your birth right no matter what. Everyone is, no conditions.

 

The source of all Love

There is but one Single Source of All Love, a single, intelligent Consciousness that pervades the entire Universe - all knowing, all powerful, all Loving, all creative and present everywhere at the same time, in me and in you, in everything. This single Consciousness is known by many names. God, the All, Brahman, the Universal Mind, the Divine, the higher Mind, the Source of All, to name but a few. It is the Source of All Love. It is Love.

And we are each an expression, a Divine Spark, of that universal consciousness. And when you know and understand the Truth that you are one with this One Source of All Eternal Love - that your very essence is therefore Love - then you will have discovered unconditional love for yourself and unlimited reserves for everyone and everything.

Self love is a prerequisite to loving others. When we Love others from that place of Love, all our relationships are healthy. Your relationships are only as strong as the foundation of your Self-love.

Release any belief that loving yourself is selfish or egotistical or arrogant and replace it with the truth that your very essence is love, that unconditional self-love is your birth right. 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.

Mystical love

 

Definition of mystical

 

  • having a spiritual meaning that is difficult to see, explain, or understand

  • of or relating to mystics or mysticism : resulting from prayer or deep thought

 

Mystic -  a person who tries to gain religious or spiritual knowledge through prayer and deep thought : someone who practices mysticism

 

NB – this is NOT about a specific religion.

 

It’s all about Love.

 

Who can deny that Loving is life’s greatest experience? Mystically—every time you feel love—you are in fact in touch with and feeling the God Presence or whatever name one gives to a Higher Power, The Source of All, Spirit, etc

 

When someone feels True Love, be it in a personal significant other relationship, toward a family member or a friend, or be it Love for the entire human race, that person is experiencing God’s Presence. When mystics through the ages have tried to express what they experienced as being God’s Presence, they could only describe it as Oneness with All.

 

To speak of benefits and to know the value of love is to know something of the Presence of God. Mystically, there is but One Life in this Universe: everything that exists, seen and unseen, in the physical dimension or other dimensions, in this universe or multi-universes, is the same One Loving Presence.

 

When we live from our personal ego identity, as most do, we live in a consciousness of division – things are either black or white, it’s about this or that, it’s my way or no way, I know best. I’ll love this one but not that one. The ego is of judgements. This one doesn’t deserve my love, that one  does – well, at least for today. This ego living is not only what makes us behave in ways that are counter to living a good loving, healthy live, it is the inner barrier to love or God.

 

Perhaps the greatest known mystic, Lover, and healer was Jesus Christ. By contemplation, meditation, being the ever constant presence of the Godhead here on earth, his examples of healing and the teaching of healing to people by acts of Self-Love are legend.

 

The less you can live from your personal ego identity, the more Presence of Love you will experience. When God’s Real Love or Presence replaces your personal ego, you become the embodiment or manifestation of Love or of living God’s Presence here on earth. When everything you think, say and do stems from genuine Love - an expression of Love, or an expression of the God Presence and is not confined to only a small select circle but freely shared for the greater good of all humanity, you become holistic in every sense. You too become the Lover, the Healer, the Mystic.

 

To the extent you can live away from ego is the measure of Living God’s Love Presence.

Exercises

 

Exercise One

Making your list

 

Make a list of all the things you love to do including things or activities you have been wanting to do for a while and MAKE TIME for them.

 

Exercise Two

Checking in - self-awareness

 

Ask yourself daily :-

Do you love yourself?

Is  what  am I thinking / doing right now an act of true Self-Love?

 

Exercise Three

How to Love Yourself

Study and apply the Louise L Hay work on how to love yourself.

•    Stop all criticism. Criticism never changes a thing.

Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are.

Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are

negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.

•    Stop scaring yourself. Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts.

It’s a dreadful way to live. Find a mental image that gives you

pleasure, (mine is yellow roses) and immediately switch your scary

thought to a pleasure thought.

•    Be gentle and kind and patient. Be gentle with yourself.

Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new

ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really

love.

•    Be kind to your mind. Self-hatred is only hating your own

thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts.

Gently change the thoughts.

•    Praise yourself. Criticism breaks the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing.

•    Support yourself. Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it.

•    Be loving to your negatives. Acknowledge that you created them to fulfil a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfil those needs. So, lovingly release the old negative patterns.

•    Take care of your body. Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise can you enjoy? Cherish and revere the temple you live in.

•    Mirror work. Look into your own eyes often. Express this growing sense of love you have for yourself. Forgive yourself looking into the mirror. Talk to your parents looking into the mirror. Forgive them, too. At least once a day look into the mirror and say: “I love you, I really love you!”.

•    LOVE YOURSELF – DO IT NOW! Don’t wait until you get well or lose the weight, or get the new job, or the new relationship.

•    BEGIN NOW – Do the best you can.

Exercise Four

Mirror work

 

Louise L Hay first introduced me to Mirror Work.

It  is an excellent way to assess whether you are truly loving of

yourself and if not, what you can  do about it.

 

 

 

Exercise Five

Recognise when you are not Loving 

The following are not acts of Love

  1. Being hyper-critical of yourself

  2. Being critical of things and others (usually because one is highly self-critical)

  3. Tendency to blame and judge others – we only judge something in another which we fail to own in ourselves eg Saying “He is a lazy, arrogant xxx” whilst not owning that you too can be lazy and arrogant

  4. Mistaking being good to oneself eg food treats when one is bored, upset, depressed as an act of self-love

  5. Difficulty in accepting and loving others unconditionally (because you find it difficult to know how to truly love yourself)

  6. Prostituting yourself and giving in to others because you want to be liked – confusing this with Love

  7. Self-sabotage (not doing what you KNOW you should be doing)

  8. Being self-conscious in social situations – fearing how you may be coming across, will you be liked

  9. Difficulty in accepting compliments or feedback

  10. Never feeling what you do is good enough

  11. Putting others before yourself - not valuing your own time and priorities

  12. Being overly nice to others – unwilling to speak up for yourself or say “no”

  13. Having an obsession for power over others through force, intimidation, manipulation, ignoring, and fear.

  14. Filling the vacuum of Love by extremes of tyranny, terrorism, and other atrocities.

  15. Seeking revenge - “if I hurt so much, I will hurt others.”

  16. Being unaware of why you are hurting, or denying you are hurting, or why they wish to lash out at others.

  17. Knowingly or unknowingly lacking God’s Presence in your life.

 

 

Louise L Hay

How to Love Yourself

Indicators of self-love issues

Do you do any of the following?

 

If you do, know that these are not the acts of someone who loves themselves.:

  • Being hyper-critical – always berating, never feeling satisfied with  self, always finding something to criticise in self or others

  • Difficulty in loving others (because you must first love yourself)

  • Self-sabotage (not following through or doing what you KNOW you should be doing)

  • Being self-conscious in social situations, wondering what others might think of you

  • Difficulty in fully accepting compliments

  • No accomplishment is ever enough, even temporarily

  • Not valuing your own time and priorities (being overly nice to others)

Louise L Hay

Mirror work

Self-Compassion

The more understanding and forgiving we are of ourselves, each acts of self-love and self-compassion, the more we do what we need to take care of ourselves, including eating well. How can we say we love ourselves yet eat unhealthy foods and poison our system with alcohol and get little movement?

 

According to researcher. Dr. Kristin Neff, self-compassion consists of three main components:

 

Self-kindness – Being kind and understanding toward yourself in instances of pain, dis-ease, or failure as opposed to harshly criticising yourself.

 

Common humanity – Recognising that your individual experiences are part of the larger human experience. You are not alone. You are not separate from the rest of humanity. We are all connected.

 

Mindfulness – Holding painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness rather than over identifying with them, stuffing them down, repressing them, or trying to ignore them.

 

For more on self-compassion, explore the website of Kristin Neff  

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying,

to run by running, to work by working;

in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.

– Saint Francis de Sales

We don't aim to teach the meaning of love, for love is beyond what can be taught. We seek to inform that you may reach your own conclusion and especially help you remove the blocks to your awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance.

One of my favourite authors is Dr David Hamilton. A fellow Scot, and a chemist, he writes with evidence on spiritual matters in a clear, everyday way that reaches a wider audience. His book, I Heart Me, the science of Self-Love contains 27 powerful exercises that David tested on himself and presents in the book to help you:

· Increase your own level of self-worth

· Connect powerfully with your authentic self

· Attain a greater sense of happiness and general wellbeing

· Create stronger and more real connections with others

Another of his books, How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, demonstrates how the mind has the power to heal the body. In it, he describes the power of positive thinking and how thoughts and emotions mould the structure of the brain and change our body at a cellular level. The book also includes true-life stories from people who have successfully visualised themselves well and contains a powerful list of specific visualisations that you can use to heal yourself from illness.

© 2017,2018,2019  by Andrew Hunter

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