Many years ago, I came to the conclusion that love is the one and only solution to all the problems in the world. When love is the driving force, truth, justice, kindness, equality, respect and all other great virtues come into play. Whatever decision you have to face, you’ll get it right if love is your motivator. Many years later, I still believe this to be true. But sometimes, you don’t know how to love yourself.
Having spent many years seeking to love and be loved, I now know that love is far more than an emotion. Love challenges us emotionally, physically, and intellectually. I’ve been in many situations trying to figure out the love-solution to a specific problem. Sometimes, I get it right, sometimes, I don’t. Over many years, I came to understand that loving is a choice and a skillset. Reading Erich Fromm’s “Art of Loving” helped me to understand the different types of love, the misconceptions about love, and the simple fact that you have to choose to love and learn how to love. This is a learning curve spanning across your entire life, an art you are unlikely to ever fully master.
The one thing I see people – including myself – struggle with is self-love. How do you love yourself? Where do you stand on the whole “love your neighbour as yourself” concept? Should you love yourself at all? Is it not much nobler to love others and put them and their needs first?
Love Is Inseparable, You Can’t Leave Yourself out of the Loop
Many people spend a lifetime loving others while giving little thought to their own needs and longings. People who grow up in a Christian tradition are often misled into believing that self-sacrifice is the way to go. True, you do find fulfilment when helping others and being generous with your love. But within that way of life, you’ll find an imbalance that makes it unsustainable in the long run. If you go around loving everyone expect yourself, you’re unlikely to find true happiness. Instead, you may end up resentful. Why? Because love is inseparable. If you love fully, you also love yourself.
How to Love Yourself
Let’s go back to what Erich Fromm says about love. Love is an art you have to choose, learn and practice. Consequently, loving yourself is also a choice. If you want to love yourself, there’s only one thing you need to do: choose to love yourself and practice it every day.
Self-love starts with a simple decision, a choice to treat yourself with kindness, love, respect, and acceptance. In the beginning, you may only love your strengths and achievements, but if you persevere you’ll learn to embrace and love your faults and vulnerabilities too. Here, you’ll have to accept your imperfections in the certain knowledge that no one is perfect.
Loving Yourself Is Key in the Pursuit of Happiness
I dare say it’s impossible to find true happiness if you don’t love yourself too. Because love is inseparable, you need self-love as much as the love of others. Some people find self-love by spending time with people who love them unconditionally. Think about the love of a parent or best friend, tune into the love, God or the universe harbour for you – warts and all.
By taking love for yourself, you increase the love you can give to others. Not only is love inseparable, it also grows as you lavish it.
Finding Self-Love in Prayer, Contemplation, and Meditation
One way of finding self-love is through prayer, contemplation, and meditation. This requires a belief in a loving power greater than yourself, be that God or the universe. If you’re a non-believer, you may still find a source of unconditional love within through meditation. Spiritual practices help to expand your heart and soul, facilitating self-love. The following clip of what is known as the 528 Hz Love Frequency provides the perfect backdrop for finding self-love.
Many people have discovered how to love themselves through spirituality. Nurturing your heart and soul will certainly help.
The answer to how to love yourself is simple: choose to do it! Treat yourself with kindness, forgive yourself, cut yourself some slack, and celebrate your uniqueness. When you struggle, be your most loving parent or best friend.
When you do begin to love yourself, everything will become much easier.