September 5
Know that compassion for others begins
with being able to accept and forgive
yourself.  As long as you judge others
for their imperfections, you will never
be able to truly accept and love yourself.

Susan Santucci


Today's Meditation:

Looking for and pointing out other people's imperfections often doesn't stop with them--most people who are critical of others are even more critical with themselves, and they spend quite a lot of time and energy dealing with their own perceived faults, not just those of other people in their lives.  When someone seems to be completely lacking in compassion to us, even if that person seems to be self-absorbed, that focus on self usually isn't one that's defined by loving kindness, and all too often is a focus that results in a living hell.

And thus the cycle perpetuates itself:  we're hard on ourselves, and therefore we find reasons to criticize others for their perceived imperfections, and that focus on imperfections extends right back to ourselves, so we're hard on ourselves.  It's what is known as a vicious cycle, and it harms not just the people we're judging, but also ourselves.

Most people who write about compassion make it very clear that we can't love others until we love ourselves.  After all, what model of love do we have?  We have to have something upon which to base our love and compassion, and if we truly don't know what those things are, if we're very harsh and judgmental with ourselves, then how are we supposed to be kind and compassionate with others?  But all too often we see self-love as being self-indulgent and selfish, so we aren't kind with ourselves and other people in our lives suffer because of it.

Love yourself.  Accept yourself as you are and love yourself.  Even if you have major problems, they still are what they are and they won't be changed until you accept them and love the person you are, faults and all.  If more people in this world would love themselves unconditionally, we would have far less strife on this planet, and far more positive people who are kind and compassionate to others.

Questions to consider:

Why do we often tend to see self-love as something negative?

How might you go about being aware of all that you are and accepting yourself just as you are, perceived flaws and all?

Why do we think we can love others without loving ourselves, while we know we can't help them with Algebra if we don't know Algebra? 

For further thought:

When we don't love ourselves unconditionally,
the limited, judgmental, conditional love we give
ourselves is all we have to give anyone.  When we see
ourselves as flawed, we also see others as flawed.



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