Many of us may have a reaction to the words, “Love yourself” because we may think they suggest narcissism.
We may have heard that without first loving ourselves we cannot love anybody else.
This is true, in my experience.
Because everybody else is you.
Just like a lotus flower has a center, and out of that center opens up into an inner circle of petals, encircled by another layer of petals and so on, if you are the center, then you might think of those closest to you as the inner circle of petals. They are just an outgrowth – another manifestation – of the same raw material that makes the center of the flower.
That circle opens up to a wider circle that symbolizes our neighbors and friends, followed by a circle to represent our acquaintances, and so on, ever expanding to ultimately include everyone in our world.
So the only way you could attempt to love others without first loving yourself is by seeing them as separate from you, which is illusion. And it will never work, because it’s like trying to build a structure on a broken foundation or no foundation at all.
What is love, then?
Love is deep appreciation.
When I deeply appreciate myself, I cannot help but radiate that love to the inner circle and eventually to the entire flower.
So when I speak of loving myself, it is the deep appreciation of my divine nature.
I can take action to show myself my deep love and appreciation for myself – by resting when I am tired, for example.
I can speak kindly to myself.
I can forgive myself when I make what I perceive to be a mistake, reminding myself that I am not the wounding that I acted from.
My inner self is very delicate, like a butterfly.
I must take care not to harm it or pummel it with my words. I must treat it like a child, because it is that innocent.
Over time, perhaps she will learn to trust me.