By Steve Clayton
Learning to love one’s self is the most important lesson for us to master here in this Earth school, but that can be challenging. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with judgments; how we look, where we live, what type of job we have, what kind of car we drive. The list of judgments is endless and, in the vast majority of cases, we are left feeling that we don’t quite measure up, that we are somehow lacking. We are made to feel that the reason we do not measure up is due to something wrong within ourselves. The key to true happiness is freedom from judgment, and that comes from self-love.
Loving oneself is grand, but how does one go about achieving that? I hear it said that positive affirmations, or making lists of one’s strong points, are good but their effects do not seem to last. Or people tell me they begin with the best of intentions but said intentions often fizzle out more quickly than they would like to admit. I understand from where these questions and feelings arise as, at various times in my life, I hopped on and off different self-improvement trains without noticing any great changes within myself. Then, quite recently, I had a “Eureka!” moment where everything came together for me. To really love yourself you have to find those parts of yourself with which you are not totally happy and tell them you love them.
It follows then that the first step in coming to love ourselves is to learn to stop judging ourselves. We all are children of Love: we come from Love, and we were created with Love. Our first intention then is to love ourselves and to forgive ourselves for not being perfect. When you nurture the love within you, it grows. The next step is to share the love. Let your inner light shine! Love must be in the light to grow. Find the love within, nurture it by focusing on your positive attributes, then share that light-love with others. The key to to see yourself in a good light. There is Love enough for you in this world if you nurture it in your heart. The easiest way to accomplish this is to sit quietly and have a heart-to-heart talk with your ego; but, don’t just talk to it, hold it. The ego often behaves like a young, frightened child, so picture yourself as a six year old or find a photo of you at that age if it helps with your visualization. Embracing your ego, tell it you love it unconditionally and forgive its transgressions. Tell that six year old you that you are never going to abandon it.
This is where my “Eureka!’” moment arose. While comforting my six year old self he told me he was afraid of being left behind when I died. He believed my soul would return to the Other Side but he would not as he was responsible for all the bad things that ever happened to me here on Earth. He believed he would either cease to exist or, even worse, ending up somewhere more terrible than he wanted to imagine. Those words caught me off guard. I heard myself telling my little six year old self that it had the unenviable job of trying to look after my human half on Earth while having its direct connection to Spirit being blocked so that my soul could experience, learn and grow here. To ask my ego to do that for me, and then for me not take it back to the Other Side with me, seemed unfair. I told him that was not true and explained that he was not just a part of the human half of me, but also part of my soul. Where my soul self goes, so too does my ego.
Talk with your ego and you, too, may gain insight into why you act the way you do. Be sure to love and forgive yourself through the process. You and your ego have been judged from the moment you became self-aware. Not all judgments are negative but they, as do positive judgments, come from external sources; external sources which do not see what makes you tick. Even when they come from loved ones they exert influence over you by telling who you are or who you should be. Having no judgments when you are talking with yourself is very freeing and empowering as it allows your ego and soul to become reacquainted.
Another benefit of learning to love yourself this way is the ability it cultivates within you to love others. You come to realize whether we are all motivated by the same thing: a very young frightened ego that just wants to be loved. Forgiving yourself for being human and loving yourself can plant the seed of compassion in your heart, a seed nourished by love and forgiveness which can grow to unite us all on our spiritual paths.