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What Does it Really Mean to “Love Yourself?”

The words, “love yourself” get touted around a lot, and yet their meaning remains vague. I think it’s time to have a dialogue about what we mean when we talk about “loving” – both someone else, and ourselves.

Love is a vibration – it’s what we all crave and where we feel at home. One could even say that, in essence, love is what we are. And yet, existing on this earth plane, we have a choice of many different vibrations to resonate with, and love is just one of them.

I recently listened to the book, “A Wrinkle in Time” (I’m thankful for being a mom, giving me the opportunity to read now, the enriching children’s books that passed me by in my own young days). Like so many quality children’s books that bring forth this pure message, “Wrinkle” reminds us that the remedy for all darkness is love.

Love is love. We know it when we feel it. We can take many, many actions out of the vibration of love, that may look different on the surface. Out of love we can support, and out of love we can challenge. If we are truly committed to love, this is a moment-to-moment path, requiring of us that we stay on our toes and keep playing the game of life with an open heart and an alert mind. It is true warriorship.

In a way, it’s much easier to tell what love is not, than what love is. Once we have experienced that open, accepting quality that is love, we can tune ourselves to it, just like one would tune a string to the note of C. The first step is just to notice love when we feel it – for a dog, for the earth, a flower, another human, or emanating towards us from someone else or something else (like that flower, the earth herself, etc). Once we notice it, once we know what it feels like, we can grow it in our own experience by thinking thoughts that evoke love, or, if we are attuned with our bodies and the physical heart region, we can make a practice out of getting in tune with our heart space and generating that love feeling, directly, and that love feeling can then inform our thoughts.

The thing is, once we are in tune with that vibration, we gradually develop an increasingly keen meter for any vibrations that are not love.

For instance, you might be about to say something to your loved one, and in taking a pause before you say that thing (such a good practice) you notice that the vibration inside of you, from which that comment is coming, feels foreign, not like love. Even in noticing, we come back to our natural home of love. Then there is no need to villainize or destroy the not-love – simply by seeing it, noticing it, we can choose not to feed it, and focus our energies elsewhere, in resonance with the vibration of love.

From my experience, this practice tends to refine itself more and more over time. In the beginning, our meter for love and not-love is rather crude, and as time passes, what would have been a passable action several months ago is no longer in line with your standard. We continually grow and open on this path. So, when people say, “eat as if you love yourself,” I completely agree. And, that love has tiers, levels, refinements along the way.

What’s important to start focusing on, in my experience and observation, is the energy and thoughts from which our actions spring forth. Are we acting from reactivity, denial, hiding – or are we choosing to act from presence, and in line with our long-term goals and values?

Ultimately, love, to me – whether it pertains to another human being or myself – is giving someone the best that life has to offer.

The message is that love- of self, of other, is a choice. A choice in every moment. Waking up is about realizing that it is always within our very own power to elevate the moment.

Choosing to take this responsibility is the distinguishing factor of a creative life, i.e. a life in which you are the creator.

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