HSEP21: The Illusion, Trap, & Opportunity of... Self Love

This topic, "Self Love," is ripe for misunderstanding and confusion. Unfortunately, a lot of us find ourselves trapped in an opposing dichotomy— where we believe we should love ourselves, yet feelings of regret and lack of self-satisfaction continue to haunt us.

Sure, it sounds nice. "Love yourself." What does that actually mean, though?

  • Shall I give in to whatever urges or desires might arise because I love myself?

  • Does it mean that I should think highly of myself and push away others who don't agree?

  • Maybe it means I should stop thinking negatively about myself and start thinking positively?

  • Or, how about... "I 'should' do this and 'should not' do that." [insert whatever condition here that will ultimately fail and lead toward more disappointment]

I find that interesting that, in some way, the mind interprets self-love as something you do, as something that is reached in the next moment, after you have completed the appropriate task. Naturally, this implies that self-love is conditional.

We imagine a version of ourselves that we deem as lovable, doing more of this and less of that, and once we reach that destination, we can finally connect with the experience of love we crave. This is the battle— this is swimming upstream, chasing a socially conditioned future fantasy that we assume is ours.

Look at this statement and see if there is any resonance, a similar voice heard in your own mind.

"If only I could love myself, if only I could stop judging and condemning myself, then... I could be free."

This statement, however sincere and adorable it might be, proclaims that the love and freedom you crave can only be acquired in the future - IF... you can someone be how you think you're supposed to be. Furthermore, it implies that you are separate (right now) from what you crave; what you crave is not with you now.

Understandably, humans believe in the concept of time, past, and future. If love is not experienced right now, then the confused assumption is that it must be elsewhere. This leads to the anxious need to 'get there' in the future. Naturally, we must get to the 'right version' of there, which is the condition that holds the love hostage.

My interest in this topic is to introduce a clarity that simplifies "self-love" and makes it immediately available, regardless of condition or where you find yourself in... time and space.

What I see as the major hindrance is the general social confusion about "the self." The question here is...

"Are we trying to love who we - think we are? Or, are we looking to experience a love for what we - really are, here and now."

Trying to love who you 'think you are' is trying to love something that isn't a real something; who you 'think' you are, is a product of imagination. Frustratingly, it becomes a back-and-forth game of thinking that ultimately fails and goes nowhere.

Having a love for what you really are, is not a question of "doing or trying" at all. Rather, it's as simple as seeing what you really are. Once seen, love is a natural and effortless byproduct.

My intention is to dive more deeply into this during the first live video broadcast today for "Holding Space for Love to Be Seen." Episode 21!