Self Love is The True Path to Genuine Love
by Mark Lawrence Self-love is not selfish. We cannot fully love others until we first learn to love ourselves. This concept is fundamental to a truly fulfilling life. False love, which is what many consider to
by Mark Lawrence
Self-love is not selfish. We cannot fully love others until we first learn to love ourselves. This concept is fundamental to a truly fulfilling life. False love, which is what many consider to be genuine love, can quickly turn to indifference, envy, resentment or even hate when the recipient of our love has strayed from their end of the bargain—the point when they displease us.
Self-love prepares us for the arrival of displeasure and disappointment. It allows us to handle such moments with compassion, empathy and understanding instead of disappointment, hurt and anger. If we are not living in harmony, or finding that we are in judgment when challenges arise, we likely have personal growth work to do.
The journey of self-love
While the exciting journey on the path to self-love requires commitment, reflection and diligence, it enhances every aspect of life. A journey to self-love begins with recognizing the importance of doing something daily that not only allows us to feel good about ourselves, but also helps us to grow. Temporary respites such as shopping, a massage, volunteering at a charity event or playing with the kids do not quality. Neither do noble reactions to outside events, proactively helping another or going out of our way to be kind. These actions, while generous on the linear plane, are a trap to avoid. They feed the ego when examined from the perspective of making us look like a good person. It is our job to be a kind and compassionate human being, which means that there are no brownie points for doing what we are supposed to do.
Self-inquiry for self-honoring
Self-inquiry is helpful when determining what is enjoyable and what we are passionate about. Prime the process by getting up a little earlier and going for a walk or a bike ride, keeping a commitment to meditate or journal, going to the gym, setting aside an hour to read about personal growth, painting or pursuing any other passion. These are places of self-honoring and the touchstones for our day.
Doing what takes effort brings fulfillment
Key to self-love is doing the personal things today that take effort—the personal growth things that we resist, don’t feel like doing, are too tired for or don’t have time for. The actions associated with the pain of getting started bring us fulfillment when we do them.
Spiritual growth (love) is no different than physical growth, which is strengthened through regular exercise. Effort and work is required to strengthen the self-love muscle. To achieve optimal muscle tone, take it just beyond its edge and observe what happens.
Mark Lawrence is a meditation instructor and mindfulness coach in Boise. For more information, call 208-602-4577 or visit MagicalMysticalYou.Love.