Community//

To Love Thyself

At this moment of time when kindness and compassion are so pivotal why is it that we struggle to extend those precious feelings to ourselves?

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

I have recently been making a conscious effort to recognise how I feel and speak to myself, attempting to extend the same level of compassion, that comes so very naturally to extend to everyone else, this time to myself.

Having listened to Tim Ferriss mention about his positive experience with Loving Kindness meditation some time ago, he has always appeared to exercise the same amount cynicism that I have found comforting. I decided to introduced this into my regular meditation routine to see how this method would feel for me.

Speaking words of kindness and gratitude to myself gave me a strange feeling, at first I felt numb and almost like I was faking it. I did, after some time, discover periods throughout the day when my internal dialogue was scathing me with words of dismay and self-doubt, that a second voice had begun to interrupt the pattern of words and introduce a new dimension of thought and offer bereavement from my ordinary dialogue. Which for me certainly felt like I had begun on the journey of self-compassion. I have discovered that arising authentic feelings of self-love and compassion does not come naturally to me and requires a great deal more mindfulness than I had anticipated.

Today I was reading, The Morning of the Magicians written in 1960 by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, I was paused by a passage that struck a chord with me on this topic in a way that I had never envisaged.

“If I love in a cowardly way, loving myself through the other person and thus being on the way to hate, is this love? No, it is only “I hate””

This is a very small part of a discussion of the seeming duality of life we have created, where two polar opposites are inherently linked to create a whole, commonly thought that one cannot existed without the other. If you are interested in that debate I would highly recommend the book.

However, for me this quote shook me to my core, knowing through my years of N.L.P training that no-one of can make me feel an emotion unless I allow them to. It never occurred to me in this train of thought, I had only ever experienced love when it comes through another person or furry being. How do I know that my parents love me? their actions, their words but ultimately the feeling that I experience with even the mere thought of them. But this is me, creating this feeling myself, with my own internal triggers and beliefs which create the chemical reaction of beautiful endorphins I experience, they do not hand love to me, I gift them to myself through my lens of perception.

I have been fortunate to experience with several partners the feelings of love and devotion, that soothes my soul and pleases my senses, providing me with the rush of the euphoric chemicals that many people crave. However, in this new light they are not loving me, I am loving myself through another.

I have grown to believe the world is a reflection of our minds, in my own development I have experienced for myself many examples of how my internal world creates the external one. I have witnessed how the inner work I have been pursuing, shifts the outer world to make space and conditions for this new perspective to come alive. However, I had not until reading this, realised this in regard to self-love and relationships.

Realising that for the past 39 years I had only ever experienced the joys of love when there was another person or persons within my sights. If I cannot conjure those emotions for myself, to myself without the assistance of someone else how can I truly love myself, to be fully complete and empowered?

I have all along given the power of love to someone else. At times it could be “the wrong person” and then when seemingly they are not able to provide this love to me for one reason or another, it was sharply removed and left an emptiness inside me, raising questions of self-doubt, loathing, regret and often lend to me sending ill wishes to a person who ultimately could never give me the feeling of love because, only I have the power to create that.

This revelation has opened a curious train of thought and a realisation that until now my thoughts on the manner of love have been shallow and unsuccessful, I have been drawing the feelings of love that I seek, from people, experiences and four legged beings who are out there and not in here.

Giving the power to others to provide love to me, to allow their presence to decide if I deserve it and leaning on them to act, be and experience only those things that allow me to create the feelings of love inside me. What a heavy burden that is for another being to carry when they are fighting their own battles and on their own self-discovery.

With this new perspective I can feel my subconscious mind moving through my past experiences and reevaluating the beliefs that lend me to certain behaviours, that perhaps on this day and those moving forward, I would choose differently. The mind is beautiful and so adaptable, I now move forward in my journey of mastering self-love with a new dimension of understanding and a deeper independence. To discover my own recipe of what brings myself the love I am seeking, and within my relationships, relinquishing the responsibility of others to provide me those feelings of love. I definitely have a lot more work to do until I can proclaim that I love myself, today I felt I got a little step closer.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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