Love is the essence of your being. It is the sacred ground in which you are rooted. It’s the invisible current of life that flows through you. And, when this vital energy is flowing freely, you enjoy vibrant physical and emotional health, and remember your connection to spirit.
Does it seem strange to think of yourself as love? That may be because, not only is love both a noun and a verb, but, from an early age, you experienced love as conditional. That means it is only given or received under certain conditions. While parents may, in fact, love their children unconditionally, from a child’s perspective, it doesn’t seem that way, when the parent withholds tenderness, affection and approval, when the child fails to behave as expected. As children, when we fell short of what was expected of us and met with disapproval, we may have concluded that we were unlovable or not deserving of love. Thus, from the earliest age, we got the message that our value is conditional and not self-evident. Later in life, this belief continues to be reinforced as people judge us on the basis of superficial things, such as our appearance and how much money we make, rather than for who we are. But more importantly, we do this to ourselves by rewarding ourselves with self-love only when we pass certain self-imposed tests. You know how it goes: if you gain a few pounds, things aren’t going well at work, or you aren’t in a relationship, you don’t feel good about yourself and deny yourself love.
This self-denial can take a mild form, such as not liking parts of your self much, or express itself as a serious self-loathing, a highly toxic emotion. In any case, you wall yourself off from the sustaining stream within yourself, and from others by not giving and receiving love. This emotional level disruption, impacts your energetic and physical levels of being, too. On the energy level, the circulation of your life force energy stagnates and, depending on the intensity and frequency of your self-defeating thoughts, blockages can occur in your subtle energy system. On the physical level, you may experience a variety of symptoms from low-level discomforts (such as losing touch with that delicious feeling of being alive in a body, muscle tension, stomach pain, backache, and headache) to serious health issues (over time, obsessive self-destructive thoughts can cause serious problems). While all pain or illness may not be the result of a lack of self-love, when your ability to give and receive love is blocked, you suffer on all three levels of your being – body, mind and spirit.
All of us deeply desire, and need, to be loved for who we are. When there are no conditions attached to it, love frees you to be your self and creates wholeness and healing. When you don’t feel that you have to prove your worth or uphold an image, all of the energy that goes into doing that is available to you. Although many people have only experienced unconditional love with a pet (which is why our furry friends make us feel so good), you can experience your own true nature by loving yourself unconditionally.
Because love is so essential to your overall wellness, I invite you to examine how you may be denying yourself the healing and liberating gift of total and unconditional love. Begin by observing the quality of your relationship with your self. How would you describe it? Do you struggle with your self? Are you a taskmaster? Or your own worst critic? Do you alternate between feeling good about yourself and thinking that you’re only good enough “if” you keep your weight down, close a deal at work, or whatever? When you notice that you’re assessing your value based on conditions, remember your priceless and sacred inner essence. You may also want to try the following practices. I suggest picking one practice and working with it exclusively for a few days, observing any changes within yourself, and then going on to the next one.
- Be kind and compassionate. Treat yourself as you would treat someone you cherish, or like you would treat a small child, or beloved pet, that is in your care. Take a moment and imagine how this would feel? Do you notice a softening in your self?
- Practice non-judgment. As you go about your day, allow everything to be as it is. If you notice that you’re resisting any experience or judging any aspect of yourself, repeat to yourself “it is” and allow it to be. How does this feel? Do you feel lighter? Or more open?
- Know your worth. Because your essence is divine love, nothing that you do, or say, or think is necessary to establish your value. Your intrinsic worth is no greater or less than that of anyone else. Your grandest achievements don’t make you any better than anyone else and your worst mistakes do not make you any less. Go about your day with the awesome awareness of your true worth and of the divinity in others. Notice what changes for you when you look at life from this perspective.
Love is absolutely vital to your health and well-being. And it feels good! So, love your self, because you’re divine perfection and because you’re a flawed human. Go ahead, love your self just because and without a reason. Remember, if you’re thirsting for love, but don’t give your self what you need, you suffer. But there’s no need to go thirsty or become dehydrated. “Love is a river, drink from it.” (Rumi)
Love Stamp © Smithsonian Institution (Artist Robert Indiana)
Quote of the Month:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” — Rumi