LOVING YOURSELF. ©Pam Burn
What does this mean and why is it so important? The following is a paraphrase of what this means written by Deepak Chopra the spiritual teacher, in his book “The Path to Love .”
When we are searching for romance or love in our lives it usually indicates that we are searching to find ourselves on a higher spiritual level. We may not yet have found ourselves or love ourselves. We are always looking outside of ourselves for someone else to fulfil us. In this passage from the “Upanishads” (a spiritual text from ancient India,) the mythic King Yajnavalkya is talking about love to his Queen.
“Truly it is not for the sake of the husband that
The husband is dear, but for the sake of the self.
And it is not for the sake of the wife that
The wife is dear, but for the sake of the self.
And it is not for the sake of the sons that
The sons are dear, but for the sake of the self.
Indeed, my beloved, it is the self that should be seen,
The self that should be heard,
The self that should be reflected upon, and the self that should be known.”
In our society nothing is considered better than falling in love. We are inundated with romantic images yet the real thing seems to elude us. Everyone seems to be anxiously searching for love but don’t seem to understand what it really is! Many people feel that love is never going to arrive, that they are somehow not good enough; that they do not deserve this amazing gift of being in love. The search is fuelled by fantasy and fear both of which are self defeating.
If you have an idealised fantasy of love you may well miss the real thing when it crosses your path. This story line is portrayed in romantic movies all the time, (e.g.” Definitely, Maybe.”) Real love can begin with everyday interactions that hold the seeds of potential. Also if you go around in a state of fear and anxiety about whether someone will pick you out to love, you will never make yourself attractive to anyone.
To strive to be attractive is another form of desperation, yet millions are spent on cosmetics, fashion and surgery. All of this fear grows out of listening to that negative inner voice that shows the lack of love for ourselves.
Do these concepts seem familiar?
- You constantly compare yourself to an ideal you can never live up to. Your inner voice drives you by saying, “You aren’t good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, happy enough, exciting enough….”
- You look for approval in others indicating your inner dissatisfaction with yourself. You say to yourself, “Don’t make a move until the right person comes along.” The right person never does because this is a fiction.
- You assume that falling in love will be a magical bolt from the blue. Many people wait passively for this bolt to appear and this passivity is really saying, “I can’t possibly be deserving of this passionate fulfilling love of my dreams.” You wait for someone else to bestow love on you instead of being the creator of it.
- Finally you persist with the belief that once someone comes along to love you, you will become affectionate, trusting, open, intimate, exciting etc.
The reality is that we need to foster a real, loving relationship with ourselves. The secret to being attractive is remarkably simple as summarised by the Latin poet Ovid who said, “To love, be lovable.”
A lovable person is someone who is natural and easy with themselves. Once you stop your search for love outside of yourself, stop trying to make yourself attractive to others, stop comparing yourself to an idealised image and shift your perspective, so that you begin to see yourself as loveable, then the real magic can begin. This shift doesn’t happen by “changing” who you are, but by “seeing” who you are and “knowing” who you are, warts and all. When you see yourself with the eyes of love, you will start to see others that way too.
Rumi the poet puts it elegantly when he declares;
“By God, when you see your beauty
You’ll be the idol of yourself.”
Nothing is more beautiful than naturalness. You are unique and multi-faceted. We are all of us good and bad, light and dark, love and hate. That is what makes us uniquely human. Once we accept and embrace all of ourselves, we will become authentic human beings and once we are authentic beings, we can shine our true light forth. This is turn could attract love into our lives and so we come full circle. Loving yourself in the words of the song is the greatest love of all.