Understanding The Quality Of Love
It is often said that you cannot truly love others until you are able to love yourself. But what does this mean? Does loving ourselves mean constantly saying to myself “I love myself”? Does loving the self mean giving our self lots of presents? Does loving our self mean we become self obsessed? Fortunately, the answer is no to all of the above. Loving our self is comprised of knowing, understanding and nourishing the self. We need to know someone before we can express an appropriate love for him or her.
And so it is with our self. We need to know our self as we truly are, a spiritual being. When we realise we have been asleep and under the wrong belief that we are only physical, almost immediately we see that it is this wrong belief that has filled our thoughts and feelings with many forms of suffering which we have given to ourselves. This understanding of our self allows us to change our consciousness and to give our love for the self its first form, which is self-acceptance. We can accept where we are now without regret. Self-forgiveness is also a form of love for the self, which is forgetting, and letting go of all the things we thought and did in the past, which are causing any suffering to our self in the present.
Self-acceptance and self-forgiveness are acts of love towards ourselves. Love for the self also takes the form of care for the self and nourishing the self by spending time in meditation and spiritual study. Not all day, but for some time within each day. Only when we have learned to love our self in these ways, will we be able make love visible for others in our day-to-day relationships.