April 2

Today's quotation:

Self-love is the foundation of our loving practice.  Without it our other efforts to love fail.  Giving ourselves love we provide our inner being with the opportunity to have the unconditional love we may have always longed to receive from someone else.

Bell Hooks

Today's Meditation:

It took me a very long time to not only learn about the value of self-love, but to actually love myself--who I am, what I do, how I live.  I grew up being highly critical of myself, and that trait hurt me more in my younger years than I like to remember.  I sabotaged many opportunities because I constantly was down on myself, because I didn't treat myself better and respect myself more.  And because of this tendency, my relationships were very unhealthy because I looked at them with a sense of desperation, focused on what I could get out of them rather than what I could contribute to them.

It's very hard to give money when you're poor.  It's difficult to give food when you have none of your own.  We can't really give advice when we have little knowledge of a situation (though most people do so anyway!).  How, then, can we give love to others when we don't love ourselves?  How can we share water when we're dying of thirst ourselves?  The water we give, we'll give grudgingly because we know that we need it desperately, too.  And if we give too much, we're no longer able to give more of it because we're simply going to perish or completely run out of water, and we'll be able to give to no one else at all.

I love myself.  I make mistakes and I have fears and I sometimes lose my patience and I don't always act in the ways that I think I should (or wish I could).  But I do the best I can with the hand that I've been given, and I do my best to help others and harm no one--and as long as I'm doing my best, then what's not to love?  And from this position of loving myself, which took me many years to reach, I notice that I'm able to give much more effectively and in a much healthier manner than I ever was before.

Love yourself.  You deserve it.  The other people in your life deserve to be loved by someone who loves from a position of being loved, and you can definitely be that person.  Their lives, and yours, will be richer when you have a healthy love of yourself.

Questions to consider:

Why are so many of us so hard on ourselves, instead of being loving to ourselves?

What kinds of benefits can come from a healthy self-love?

What's the difference between loving oneself and being conceited and arrogant?

For further thought:

The first problem, of course, is that we haven't learned to love ourselves.  That's the first problem.  We can only give to another what we have to give.  And if we have no love over here, we can't give it over there.

Neale Donald Walsch
Little Book of Life
  

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