There is much new awareness that it is necessary to love yourself in order to love others. What is the nature of loving yourself? There are many different ways of seeing this: treating yourself as you would treat someone you highly respect and admire; giving yourself time for things that matter most to you; eating your food with affection, so that the love you give the food then goes into your body; and so forth.
Loving yourself, however, goes beyond such things. Loving is a unified experience that does not cut off any portion of your reality. When you are loving yourself, you are loving others. When you are loving others, you are loving yourself. When you are having joy in what you are doing, you are giving joy to the world – there is no separation between you and the world. If you have been holding back from treating yourself well for fear that doing so would detract from more important things, you are not seeing the connection between what you do for yourself and your contribution to the rest of what is. When you caress yourself, you are immediately giving the planet a warm and vitalizing touch; you are the planet. When you shout with glee, you release a ripple of color that the stars witness with a sense of gladness; you are the stars, the witness to your own joy. When you truly love yourself or love in any way, you leave a faint but unmistakable aroma of magic in your wake. Is this not at least as great a contribution to humanity as accomplishing item number ten on your “to do” list?
Any act of love is a step in the evolution of life. Love does not differentiate between the love you give yourself and the love you give others. Loving yourself is not self-centered. If you truly love yourself, your actions do not exclude others’ well-being. Your true self-interest includes what is best for everyone. If you do what you truly love to do, you are in harmony with the whole.
Love is. You cannot honor the wisdom of the ages without coming to love. You cannot love others without loving yourself. You cannot love yourself without loving others. You cannot express love without being love. You are love, so that is not a problem.
“What about the parts of me that do not feel loving?” you may ask. “What about my anger toward my boss, my mate, or my neighbors?” The answer is simple: Love your anger. Love those who have perhaps trespassed against you, and love the force in you that seeks to protect you from further trespass or to impel you to appropriate action. Love it all.
Loving yourself has vast ramifications. It is not simply a way to increase your effectiveness and enjoyment; it is your primary means of coming to know the force that activates the universe.