The Beatles were right: “All you need is love!” I would even say… All you need is self-love! But that would not flow as well in a song. A long time ago I realized that love was not like emotions. Love is not in the same category because love does not come from your thoughts, it comes from opening your heart. I never understood when people said in movies or real life: “I don’t feel love for you anymore!” It did not make sense because the reason we fall out of love is that something like anger or fear gets in the way. It suffices to recognize the source of the anger or fear and we can easily tune back to love again. Sometimes we need to leave relationships behind, but not out of anger or fear. Instead we leave each other out of love and respect for the other and for our self.Part of the problem in relationships is that too often we want or expect our partner to love us when it is really our responsibility to love our self. That’s why I say that all we need is self-love. It would be difficult to live this life if we needed someone to love us in order to grow and be healthy. It helps to be loved when we cannot find it in our self to love who we are, but it is not essential.
Stories Pointing Toward Self-Love
The first time I became aware of self-love is when someone asked me to say “I love you!” to myself in a mirror. I remember I had a tough time then. That was a difficult realization yet a worthwhile one.Another time I was getting angry at a widespread bumper sticker: “Jesus loves you!” It really rubbed me the wrong way because my whole being resented that someone else would pretend to know what Jesus thought of me. There were some swear words in my mind as well! But one day, despite my resentment, I asked myself: “… and what if it were true?” So I imagined what it would be like if I allowed Jesus to love me. The result astonished me. I saw how I had resisted anyone’s love because I wanted to be loved by my parents first. I could have waited a long time! In that experience I saw how accepting to be loved healed the way I saw my parents. I saw that they actually loved me, that my problem was that it wasn’t how I wanted to be loved. I could then receive how they were able to love me.
Another time, much later, I was practicing a healing approach according to Bruno Groening. You can check him out online. It is a simple approach of tuning in to the healing stream of the Universe while experiencing your physical body and trusting that healing is happening whether it takes 1 second or several years for you to actually experience the results. Practicing this teaches one about the nature of faith and self-love. It is a beautiful practice. One day Bruno came to me etherically and asked me to join him and Jesus and Buddha and many enlightened beings. I had a tough time accepting. I did not feel worthy. When I finally accepted the invitation, something shifted in me. The next day I found myself closer than I ever felt to anyone I met on street. I experienced that there was no distance between me and the street kid from a poor family in my 19th ward neighborhood. I experienced myself and drug dealers without any judgment, without any sense of one being better than the other. I could have been them. That was a beautifully peaceful experience.
More recently, I experienced yet another level of self-love. Loving myself is not just being able to say: “I love myself!” and feeling it, or allowing someone else to love me. It is about trusting that what I want to make of my life is possible. It is about believing in my dreams and keeping an open heart whether things appear to work out or not, whether I see results or not, whether I get support or not. It is not about fighting for what I want and being more assertive in the world. It is about recognizing when I lose faith, and not pretending. It is about recognizing when I get scared and embracing myself and working at reopening my heart. It is about becoming aware of thoughts and beliefs that are not supportive of my dreams and recognizing these thoughts and beliefs are not me.
Self-love is not glamorous. It takes you in the mud of your life. It is a journey that brings to your consciousness all the thoughts and beliefs, and all the hurt that are now on tapes in your semi-consciousness and run your life but are no longer nourishing you! Self-love is about patiently catching those tapes from the corner of your mind and inner wisdom and recognizing their lie. Nobody else can do it for you!
There are gifts at some point… One of them is that life is to be celebrated as any event is an opportunity for personal and collective enlightenment! Another is our purpose in life becomes clear and comes to us with little effort. Another is joy.
Path to Love
These gifts point us in the right direction because as it turns out meditating on celebration and joy while paying attention to our thoughts an physical experience (avoiding denial) accelerate the path to unconditional love.Have fun on your journey!