Self love may be difficult
Self love is a bit of a misnomer. Why do you need to love yourself? Where does the question of self-love originate from?
Do you love a sunrise? You might be in awe. You might feel connected and lost in some feeling or experience bigger than your mind. You might even step out of the moment and declare your love of the moment…or of how the spectacle before you had you feel. But there is no “it” (the sunrise) to love really … at least we recognize that the “it” is fleeting and don’t attempt to attach to it. In the experience, there was no need to profess love — the experience was the all of it. There is just the experience which is much bigger than what we ultimately say about it.
To say you love a sunrise,that would be an error — you might love how it made you feel; but there is no ‘it’ to love. You say you love because you want to hold on to something — if not the moment, at least a label for the moment. This love is attachment. You want to remember an experience — hold it dear — put it in a scrapbook for future reference.
Do you love the cool clean air after a rain? Yes and no for sure. But the yes doesn’t seem to resemble what we are saying when we say “I love myself.” Again, we are talking about how something makes us feel without an attachment to the “it” of it. We love our experience perhaps — perhaps in the moment there is nothing but the experience and only after we leave it do we feel a need to declare our love for it. Love becomes a label we attach to some pleasurable experience — clearly we are not in love with the air!
The sunrise and the air — what we love is the presence of it; the experience it affords.
So what are we doing when attempt to love ourselves? But even more importantly, why do we think we need to love ourselves? We must look deeper into the question to find the error in our thinking that has us believe that we need to love something that simply is. (Maybe love is all there is, but then we wouldn’t need to declare it or look for it, or try to do it.)
When someone speaks of loving themselves, it is usually a response to a recognition that they don’t. People don’t love themselves — that is why they are thinking that they need to do it. But to ‘not’ love yourself, don’t you need to know what you are not loving? What is the “self” we are trying to love? How has our thinking become so confused as to think we know what we “are”; so sure of what we “are” that we can find fault with it? What is wrong with ‘who we are’ that we think we need to love it? (Paradoxically, when we attempt to love ourselves, we create or highlight a “self” which we will ultimately find fault with.)
Our problem isn’t the lack of self-love — it is the presence of self-loathing. Self loathing can’t be fixed by applying love over top of it. We don’t live up to our expectations: We aren’t all that we could be. We aren’t good enough. We aren’t smart enough. We aren’t healthy enough. We have flaws, faults, shortcomings, etc.
How are we supposed to love this ‘less than perfect’ thing that is our self? (Less than perfect is what we say anyway) How can you love your shortcomings? They are shortcomings! It seems that, until I can fix them, I can’t love myself!! Maybe I can love the fact that I am a “work in progress.” I don’t really love myself, but I love who I am becoming. Or I love that I am working on myself – so I can overlook the remodeling mess. But at the heart of this is still self-loathing. I am not at peace with myself as I am.
Therefore, acceptance is greater than our efforts at love. Our affected love is an attempt to deal with our loathing. Acceptance allows us to move past the question of lovable and recognize simply the “is” of our self. We can experience our “isness” in a way we can’t experience our self-love. Where we have to ‘make and win’ the case for our lovability, we can appreciate our isness as is .
Our ‘isness’ is in the same category as the sunrise, a mountain, a star, a warm summer breeze. Delightful, surprising, unfathomable, inspiring, and presence.
Self acceptance is the doorway for being with yourself without expectation and disappointment. Only then can you see yourself as magnificent!