January 26    

Today's quotation:

If you have trouble loving yourself, imagine that everyone in the world is a hungry soul whose life has been imperfect.  Like you, they had imperfect parents.  Like you, tragedies and difficulties befell them.  If you could hear each person's story, you would probably be moved to tears and want to reach out and embrace that person.  You would want to tell them that in spite of everything they've gone through, they have great value.

Daphne Rose Kingma

Today's Meditation:

It seems odd that we have a hard time allowing ourselves to love ourselves.  Somehow we've come to believe that such a thing is selfish, self-indulgent, or even worse.  But loving ourselves is an absolutely necessary first step to being able to love any one else truly--and by truly I mean completely unconditionally.  For such is the essence of true love.

What I like about Kingma's words here is the fact that she gives us a strategy for being able to love ourselves.  She reminds us that we are able to feel love and compassion for others, so why should we not be able to feel that love and compassion for ourselves?  Your life has been "imperfect," and so has mine.  Why are you able to show me sympathy and compassion when I do something wrong, but you're so incredibly hard on yourself for your mistakes?  it doesn't make sense, and it certainly isn't fair to you or to the people you share your world with.

If you could hear my story, you'd understand my actions and inactions better.  If I could hear your story, I'd understand yours better.  You know your own story, so give yourself a break and give yourself credit for coming through some hard times.  Show yourself the compassion that you long for from others, and give yourself the love that only you can give.  Unconditionally.

You will find that as your ability to love yourself grows, your ability to love others grows even more, for you will need less and less back from them.  Most love is conditional, and it depends on returns, what we get back.  But what will happen when I no longer need to get anything back from others in order to love them?

Questions to consider:

What are some other ways that you might help your love for yourself to grow?

Why do we have a harder time loving ourselves than we do showing love to others?

Does the love you "give" depend on getting something back?  What might you do to change that tendency?
For further thought:

Don't let the opinions of other people determine the image you have of yourself.  There is no need to feel either
appreciated or understood.  Be even-minded.  What you think
about yourself is everything.  What others think about you has
no value at all, unless you choose to give it value.

Shantidasa

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