2nd May 2010
Why Don’t YOU Love Your Self?
There is a statement that is often been heard during self-development workshops. It’s been written in countless books. It is one of the mantras of what became known as ‘new age’ thinking. It’s the moment when someone says, “I need to learn to love my self”.
In their determination to generate more ‘self love’ many have gone straight to the ‘mirror mirror on the wall’ and started to repeat their new self affirmation, “I love my self” at the image of their face. And then wondered why not much changes! Which is not surprising as the face that we see in the mirror is not the ‘self’. It is the mask that we inhabit and wear. Loving our face and therefore our body only strengthens our attachment to and identification with our body. And that’s not love, it’s attachment. It only generates more anxiety as both face and body are obviously in a permanent state of decay! So ‘loving my self’ is not loving my body. But that’s not to say our body does not require care. It is, after all, our personal limousine, so we need to look after it!
Then there are those who write a thousand times the self instruction, “I love my self”. Somewhat reminiscent of the ‘thousand lines’ punishment at school! Even as they repeat their self loving lines they too will eventually wonder why nothing much changes. Little do they realise it takes more than one ‘thought’, regardless of how often it is repeated, to change how we ‘feel’ within and about our self. They probably don’t notice that to concentrate hard on any thought actually suppresses our feelings.
The repetition of one thought also becomes a little boring. So some start to expand the idea into, “I am learning to accept my self” or “I am becoming kind to my self” or “I am compassionate towards my self” or “I am learning to forgive my self”. But without ‘feeling’ the authentic power of love these thoughts too will only have a brief and limited benefit, and therefore a somewhat limited lifespan. You can’t think your way to love.
All this ‘I love myself’ philosophy and ideology is also underlined by the equally common idea that you cannot love others, or even just one other, until you are able to love your self. It sounds logical and seems to make sense but when we find we don’t want or we are unable to give love to others we often then conclude that we are not yet loving enough of our self. Then we blame our self for not loving our self enough. So we diminish our self even more as we see our self failing to live up to others and our own expectations. So it’s off to another workshop or seminar to remind and re-affirm to our self that we can still learn to love our self but at the moment we are not doing as much as we should, but when we eventually do learn to love our self then all will be well in our relationships, everything in our life will be OK! Phew!
This process can easily continue in a kind of repetitive cycle for some time, often years, until maybe one day we have our ‘light bulb moment’ and the penny drops on the realization that it’s not possible to love ones self! It’s a mission that is impossible to complete. It is a task, an aim, a goal, that is doomed to a predictable and inevitable failure!
But in order to realise fully that we are wasting our time and energy in trying to achieve the impossible the penny also has to drop all the way to the floor and stay there permanently...so to speak! At the same time there has to be an AHA moment around the ‘location of love’ and the ‘true nature of love’. The penny may fall in slow motion but it doesn’t fully hit the floor until we realise love is not something separate from the self. Love is a name for the pure awareness and radiant light of consciousness, which is ‘the self’, but only when we are free of all attachment, free of all attempts to possess, hold on, own, acquire or desire anything or anyone. Love is what you/we are. It is what the ‘I’ that says ‘I am’ is!
To say, ‘“I love my self ”, only sustains an illusion that there is an ‘I’ and a ‘self ’, when, in truth, there is only the ‘I’ that says ‘I am’. The ‘I’ is the ‘self’ and the self is love. Just as the eye cannot see itself and the finger cannot touch itself, so you cannot love your self. Love cannot love love! Neither the self nor love is an object. Love just ‘is’ because you just ‘are’ and because I just am!
This level of
‘self-realisation’ completely alters our perceptions and perspectives of
love. It transforms the meaning of love from something superficial, as
And we all intuitively know the answer to the question, ‘how do I know love?’ At what might be called the ‘spiritual level’, the level of our consciousness, only when we give what we have do we know what we have. Only when we give what we are do we know what we are. Which is why, when you give that gift ‘with love’, you are the first to know and feel that love ‘on the way out’. Only when you give what you are do you know that what you have is the same as what you are. And when you give what you are that’s when you realize your self as love. It’s just that you are not thinking ‘I am love’, and the last thought that would ever enter your mind is ‘I need to learn to love my self’.
Extracted and adapted from the new book:
The 7 Myths About LOVE…Actually!
The Journey from your Head to the Heart of your Soul
Published April 2010