When I finally learned to love myself I stopped looking to others for validation. Instead I looked for those who still sought approval from others and attempted to be an example for them; not in an egotistical way but as I imagined a loving, caring friend would act.
When I finally loved myself, I found it easier to also love everyone else in my life. As this love evolved and became more unconditional, I was able to stop judging others, which freed up incredible amounts of space in my heart for my healing Light to grow and expand.
When I finally loved myself enough I stopped the self-deprecation routine I had so skillfully mastered in my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. I learned to stop the demeaning stand-up routines in mid-sentence and to replace them with thoughts someone who loved me might say.
When I began to love myself enough I was able to realize that most of the stories, I had stored in my memory, about who and what I was, were false. Many of these narratives contained voices I had never questioned; teachers who had filled me with many lies, despite my trust that they always did the best they could.
When I learned to love myself I also learned to love my moment-to-moment experience of life. I decided to let go of the stories I had carried of the past; memories based on tainted recollections. I also discovered that it served me to release all fear about the future; learning through my exploration, that by being Right Here, Right Now it was easy to love myself. After all, what is not to love if investment in the past and trepidation about the future are set aside?
As my self-love has grown, I have learned to really appreciate my amazing body. I took it for granted, treating it like was a throw-away for much of my early adulthood. Today I am committed to loving it, nourishing it, and nurturing it, to the best of my ability. My mind still wants to beat me up about my earlier choices, but that is not what love does, not how love behaves. So, when I notice its desire to admonish, I release it, letting it float away, as if it were a butterfly in a dream.
As I have learned to love myself more, I have let go of the idea that anything external to myself can bring me greater happiness. Since understanding this, I have quit buying things that I do not need, content to find fulfilling that which I already possess. When something is absolutely necessary, for me or my household to function smoothly, I may purchase it, but only if I have the money to pay for it. Love has taught me that debt is a prison which no longer serves me. Love always offers freedom, in all of its various manifestations. Hopefully this short writing has already conveyed this truth.
I love these thoughts on love from Peterson’s version of the bible, (The Message) 1st Corinthians, 13 5-7:
I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up…
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
As I have moved in the direction of loving without conditions, I have learned that we are LOVE itself, and as such, there is no value in playing small. In learning to love myself, I have discovered that my true nature (Self) is greater than my mind is capable of comprehending.
While I am still exploring what it means to live each of these truths, I feel free. I feel unlimited. I have had glimpses of the LIGHT that dwells in and flows through me and each of my beautiful friends and acquaintances. In the words of Whitney Houston: “Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all.” I agree with her: Learning to love ourselves is truly the greatest adventure life has to offer. It certainly has been for me.
In closing, I want you to know that there is no truth I have discovered for my Self which does not also apply to you. May you join me on this incredible journey as we apply these Truths to our daily experience. Every time one of us moves toward Self-mastery, the consciousness of the entire planet expands and blesses everyone.