Do you have something about Self-Love?
This is not the exact question I heard four years ago, but I presume this one is the nearest. It was after a workshop I facilitated that a participant approached and asked me. Yes, I’ll explore on that, I said. In my mind, however, I was caught red-handed. I felt the question magnified its mystery. What and how is it really to Love oneself? And how much have I done that – to me?
I looked back again to how I always describe Love in my life.
I recognize Love like the position of the sun in the Solar System. It is central to my philosophy and spirituality, and I strive to demystify it in my practice. I believe I have rediscovered it – and still discovering it the way we discover the world invisible to us: subatomic particles that build the whole cosmos through the smallest and the unseen. Yet Love, no matter how much I read books, analyze concepts, reflect and mine insights one after another, naturally tends to elude my mind. Nevertheless, it continues to invite me to be in its flow – to continue to journey in the middle of its mysteries.
Claiming a successful journey would be too preposterous. I, like many others, am still overwhelmed by the sheer power of Love that cannot be contained in one definition. It is similar to how theologians contend their own theories of God. Love is the million colors out of one light, passing through the prism of our own limited human reasoning and intelligence.
With the help of that image, I can assume one surest way to have a satisfying personal understanding of Love:
Our society has idolized a concept of Love as an attention, a favor or a prize being pursued from others. By that means we externalize Love: something outside of us, something we deserve, something we compete for. By this belief we have governed our lives – that true Love rests in meeting expectations of others, in pleasing others by becoming our bests, in making utmost sacrifices in the name of Love.
That is where we should stop.
The Law of Love is different from the world’s law. The law of Love is that you are Love…
I lifted this quote from Gerald Jampolsky’s Love is Letting Go of Fear. This line might sound too mind-boggling for many of us oriented to a concept of an externalized Love. But a Love internalized, flowing from within, is a Love that is ancient as life itself.
The Buddha once said that any person can achieve enlightenment solely through Love. It is the pure feeling of it, the intention of Lovingkindness, goodwill and joy that naturally expands from our individuality.
This is why we must start with ourselves.
Learning to Love yourself is easy to achieve.
As I write this, I hear in my mind the voice of the late Whitney Houston, whose rendition of this song is most familiar to me. That line rings true, even if it is wrought with its inherently ironic difficulty.
It is never easy for me not to fear or worry things. It is never easy for me not to judge myself and others. We all know how these things happen in our lives. All of us undeniably live in a world rife with an illusion where Love is lacking, if not entirely absent.
But Love never left us. It never will. How can Love leave if it rests inside of us? What really left us is the awareness of it. We have forgotten. We have been disconnected. This explains why every ancient spiritual masters and contemporary teachers keeps us reminding the act of remembering and reconnecting to the essence we call in many names.
There is only one caveat: we are not guaranteed to transform the world overnight once we become aware of Love. But at least we are assured that despite our fears, frustrations, and judgments, we know how to respond, to care, and to live our lives with the effort to remember and reconnect again.
Despite the chaos around us (and often inside us), the Love we strive to remember and reconnect is the Love we commit ourselves to practice and live. We will start living in a world where we don’t need to seek Love outside us, but to share with each other the Love that overflows through us.
Until we begin to recognize this truth, we are less likely to see and act with an internalized Love. Until then we will continue to miss Love, and struggle to find it, remaining unaware of its true essence within.
I am Love might be the most powerful affirmation we can declare to ourselves. From that awareness we can begin to Love ourselves and others more.
This is the Love we ever need.
*Thank you, Kamille, for asking your question.