In order to love others, we must first love ourselves. In our culture we tend to be really harsh on ourselves. We can also tend to sacrifice for others to a point that goes beyond healthy. While constantly judging ourselves, we do not practice self-love. The we wonder why we attract unloving people in our lives.
Loving ourselves is something we need to start right away. We can buy ourselves flowers. We can plan time for ourselves to do something fun. We can take inventory of our accomplishments.
While taking inventory of our accomplishments, we can also take inventory of what does not love in our lives. Self-deprecating remarks are funny in a laughter-filled environment. But on a day-to-day basis, they simply erode away our self-esteem. Sacrificing so much that we affect our own health is not a loving thing to do to ourselves. It also becomes not loving to others because we become resentful. Stewing in negative thoughts is not a loving practice.
It is not necessary to book a four-day spa vacation to practice self-love. This would not be a loving act if it adds to your debt. Practicing self-love is really a matter of holding oneself with respect and dignity. Anything we do that makes us feel beautiful is loving. We respect the way we present ourselves to the world. We only act with dignity. Except for that laughter-filled environment – in this case, just have fun!
Most important, we should love ourselves because we are God’s magnificent creations.
Love is the greatest power of all. Love is like a light that dispels darkness, the darkness being fear. Just like darkness cannot exist if light is present, fear cannot exist in the presence of love.
Fear, not hatred, is the opposite of love. Hatred is simply a subset of fear. Those who act in a hateful manner are not experiencing love; they are experiencing fear.
It is not easy for many of us to always feel love. There are times when anger makes us feel hateful. But if we look closely at what is really bothering us, deep inside we find that it is something we are afraid of. It takes practice to be able to detach from that fear and to always feel love.
God is love
The emotions some try to give God (wrath, vengeance, etc.) are not emotions of love and are not God’s expressions. They are simply human attributes describing situations where love is not present which people try to put on their perception of God.
Many great people have walked the Earth teaching of love: Jesus and Buddha from ancient times, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., in more recent history. Their messages were the same: to love one another and avoid unloving actions to other human beings.
The animals we interact with are great expressers of love. They love without judging and they respond to love.
Children are very good at love, also. Whoever heard of a hateful baby?
Love is high-vibration energy. It often is found in joyful, beautiful places. Nature responds to love.
Love, when circulated, returns to us. We also must remember to love ourselves. And, when we find ourselves feeling frightened, we must remember that God loves us and will always provide. With love, there is nothing to fear.
Love Heals All Things
Love is a high form of energy. Sometimes, the only thing we can do to heal a situation is to direct love toward it. Fighting something we cannot change or dwelling on its negative aspects are not going to help and may even make the problem worse. Loving what is may be the only way to heal a situation into wholeness.
This does not mean not trying practical situations. A broken car still needs to go to the mechanic. A broken leg still needs medical care. Most of us are not enlightened enough to heal physical things if our senses are showing us what is wrong. But love will speed healing.
Sometimes healing is not what we expect. People die after the best of medical treatments and all our prayers. A loving wedding starts off a marriage that ends in divorce. This is not love failing. The love may be the element that allows people to die peacefully and marriages to end amicably.
It is important (and comforting) to know that we can always love. We may be powerless in every other way but love will bring us the grace to accept it. Everything happens for a purpose and is ultimately for our best and highest good.
Practicing loving is a wonderful spiritual practice. Like other practices, it will come to us easier the more we do it.
By Denise Onyskiw.
Denise currently is writing a book about life balance between the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical planes of our existence. Watch her book intro video or check her facebook page for more information.
Cathy Beebe says
Denise, I enjoyed reading your blog. I “m one of those that isn’t in balance. I am working on doing more loving things for myself. Thanks for this reminder.
Denise Onyskiw says
Cathy, a lot of us are not in balance. It feels like a lifetime effort to me to get more in balance. I’m now at the point where it is more tweaking and less overwhelming (okay, preparing a book proposal with a deadline can put one out of balance!). Good luck with your endeavors and check back here and at my own blog awalkthroughthegarden.wordpress.com for more articles about balance.
I feel that part of knowing how to be in balance is to know where you are at all times in your day. That would be in your emotions, which affect your thought, which affect your actions. Then where are you physically,tired, energized, feeling sick etc. Then, where are you on a mental level…everything through the day affects us. It is not an easy job…loving and taking care of self..usually, as you said, easier to do for others. Then, do not beat yourself up in your self assessment if you have let yourself down…whew…lots to do…and this does not include all the outside forces…Great post…we all need to hear this, and then find out way…
Denise Onyskiw says
Ravenmyth, it sounds like you understand perfectly. The balance is on those four levels: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. It isn’t easy to do because our culture teaches us to make certain things priorities and that we can do everything. But you are right, we need to know that this is what we have to do and then keep it in perspective all day long. We also need to allow for those times when we have to be out of balance temporarily: final exams (very heavy in the mental realm), the grief process (very emotional), etc. Check out my Facebook page for my book (link below). I talk a lot about this subject and the essays for my book keep coming back to it.
Denise, I do understand…I make a practise to learn from my life experiences and from that an awareness starts to take place. You start to actually live you own Spirit and moving from inward thought…choosing…then creating balance in your emotional body, mental body and physical body..from that new understanding…
jim brandano says
Really good posting… sometime we need someone else in our lives to teach us that we are worth loving and when we learn we open up a part of ourselves that we have never experienced. Then we can really start enjoying life!!
Jim’s photography blog
Denise Onyskiw says
For some reason, we are not taught in our culture to love ourselves, as if it is egotistic or selfish or something. It’s a perverse and insidious teaching. I think I had to be taught it at the one time or another. But it is absolutely essential, as you said, to ove yourself first. When two people who are in love also love themselves, it makes for a fabulous relationship. And singles who love themselves will attract partners who also love themselves. None of that myth of needing someone to “complete you”!
Also, I love your photography!
Absolutely right. We must first love ourselves, then we can give and get love. It’s very hard process, sometimes long. I think it should be started from parents. In childhood they should support kid, be behind, spend together time, talk open about problems and make to feel sure. Sometimes parents only expect best results in school, forgetting what is most important. Later in adult life can be hard, but anyway there is chance to love. It’s important to accept daily life, be happy from this what is just now, to make ground goals and realize dreams. It’s not worthy to lose time for bad feelings. Always is better to have positive mind. Even it’s not going as we wish, sometimes wind is front of us, sand in eyes- just remember that every effort will bring light, experience. After every storm will come sun :) All things can pass, but love to ourselves will stay forever.
Love adds wings, it’s amazing power. We can fly, jump, swim whole ocean and get Mount Everest.
Denise this post is great.
Denise Onyskiw says
Unfortunately, parents do not always teach their children to love themselves. Some parents are unduly critical which, in a child’s mind, makes the child not love himself or herself since they are too young to know how to deal with a parent’s criticism. Some parents are simply trying to teach their children about modesty and humility but somehow they don’t get the message about self-love across as the balance. These children then need to learn to love themselves when they are adults. As you said, sometimes it’s a long process but it is a good process to begin.
So true! Love is the key to everything and yet we love ourselves so little. Thank you for sharing.