Loving yourself can indeed border on egoism, loving and pleasing yourself, regardless of the consequences others have because of our actions. However, now we are discussing the other end of the spectrum – love towards yourself which is a prerequisite for loving others. This type of love is when we don’t rely on others for our sense of good or bad; then others do not give us the meaning of life. Other people, because we love them, give a meaning to our lives and are a perpetual source of positive emotions, a mirror which we ask: “Who is the most beautiful of us all?”. I am talking about the kind of love towards oneself which accepts us for what we are, which wants the best for us, the one that does not allow us to accept anything less than the enjoyment of living a life which is up to our individual aspirations. The hugging, laughing, comforting, refined love of an adult, in which the internal parents are big enough to comfort, protect, and support the development of the child within us; love towards ourselves and the life we choose to lead. Responsible love, in which no one but us is responsible for anything, because we choose to let them near us and to tolerate them. We are speaking here about responsible, adult love which makes us happy with ourselves; that which makes others happy when they are with us…
Accept yourself and your ideals
Accepting yourself with your roots, including parents through whom life has come to us, without anger and resentment towards them for being as they actually were, means truly accepting yourself. Accepting yourself also means loving your body, with all the pleasures and pains, all the feedback it is able to give us; your mind which maintains a picture of the world which nobody else neither sees nor is able to recognize and defend; our spirit, which connects us with all the other living creatures and this beautiful planet Earth on which we breath.
Mind, spirit, and body
Loving yourself means loving your mind, spirit, and body; means connecting them, listening, and understanding what they are saying to one another. People doing yoga know that flexibility of the body means flexibility in life. Handstands alter the perception of the physical world and forces the mind to change its perspective on any particular part of reality. Durability of the body increases the concentration of the mind. Standing straight is an indicator for the right hierarchy of all of our human segments: that we allow our breathing to come to our fingertips, that we create a heart magnet and connect it to the universe, that we allow food to move through our bodies without interruption. Our joy is the way our soul tells us we live in harmony with our life mission.
Our power is to enter meditation without thoughts and exist solely through breathing, releasing the mind and the body from the centre of attention, that power of ours regenerate both our body and our mind. Right after meditation our perception is fresh, garbage thrown out, and again united in movement we can perform in our best form.
The mind, no matter how much attention we give it through intense thinking and relentless cognitive studying, works best when it is relaxed, when we trust it to come up with the answers in time, when we do not force it nor bother it to produce what ever is needed right this second. Our mind is our loyal servant and it will do anything if it is a part of a larger game, the one which our entire body plays. It will serve not because it is pleasant and relaxed, but because it serves its ideals. If we are mindful, but overweight, unhappy, and nervous, or if we are careless and wild but without the ability to concentrate and to be in the state of physical harmony, or if we are ideally proportionate, but sharp and gloomy, we aren’t whole nor loved- by ourselves.
Accepting yourself and your ideals
Loving yourself means accepting yourself, here and now, the way we are as a result of a series of our decisions, intentional and unintentional interpretations of events and information, focus of attention on something, which because we gave it attention, has grown in our life. We are the way we are because we have chosen it ourselves.
Living in harmony with our ideals, which are manifested in our day-dreams create our future. Day-dreams are the future in the present.
Do you know how to dream? I am a day-dreamer. Often I get immersed into the film about the future to the point where I look at every little detail. Actors, sounds, colours, and emotions- they are all real and present. My friend claims that she, without night-time dreams, doesn’t live life. Her emotions, acceptance, and reactions- she manages in her sleep. Dreams are part of reality, our safe haven. We should give them time to develop, let them into our lives and allow them to do what dreams are made to do. Without them, we are travellers on a road without directions.
My amazing daughter Tamia is the most wonderful creature I know. She has always been her own person, in her opinion beautiful and kind, confident, and in constant contact with her big, beautiful heart. She is my prototype for love towards oneself.
Loving others the way they are
Loving yourself gives full freedom and power for loving others, the way they are. Loving others does not mean living their lives, allowing them to do as they please, wanting more for them than they do for themselves. Loving others means sharing everything that produces happiness, being close to others to the point at which everyone is comfortable, allowing them to go far, knowing that physical and mental distance aren’t measurements of love. Then again comes a time for passionate love, full of unity and intensive mental desire… Everything is always fine, because as long as you love yourself, you do not need others to be happy or unhappy. Nobody needs to be needed to stay alive. Unity is then a choice where giving and receiving manifestations of existence, creating emotions, movements, and ideas which are bigger than just one person. The hug asana!
Reflection on St. Valentine’s 2011, encouraged by my business partner Miljenka