Why is Self Love Important?

Why is Self Love Important?

​I received this request from someone who wanted me to write an article for his website. “Can you talk about self-love as if this is the only message they will ever hear from you and this is your chance to wake up a suffering person to be more loving to himself.” This is what I wrote (some of it was from last week’s newsletter, but it bares repeating).

There are so many people suffering and struggling in life. Whether steeped in emotional or physical pain, stuck in the rut of habitual or self-destructive behaviors or bound by constant self-criticism and self- loathing.

There is hope though.

I have seen firsthand that there is a solution. A solution that awakens health, resilience and wisdom within every person.

It’s so simple. It’s knowing the truth. It’s going beyond what you think you know and the illusions you believe about yourself.

It’s a big illusion that just because we have made mistakes, even huge ones, that we are mistakes.

It’s an illusion that if we don’t beat ourselves up, we won’t change.

It’s an illusion that if we think harder about all we have done in our past we will come up with a solution to break the cycle.

Most of the thoughts we have about ourselves are illusory, yet held in place by our belief in them.
What if we could let them go? What if they didn’t have the intense power we give them? What if they could change on their own without effort on our part? What if our thinking wasn’t such a big deal? What if we are creating extra suffering and struggles in our lives because we are innocently using the gift of thought against ourselves? What is the truth?

All human beings are innately healthy. Right now, we are all emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthy in spite of or despite our thought content, feeling content and behavior content.

How is this possible you may ask? There is so much dysfunction in my life, so many dysfunctional people in my life. I have done terrible and destructive things. How can you make such a bold claim and say I am healthy and holy? You don’t even know me.

I know that we are all doing the best we can given the thinking and level of consciousness we have in the moment. We are not our thinking, although we have thoughts. Thinking is something that flows through us like energy. It’s not who we are. All human beings are visited by various states of mind and moods.

The nature of Thought is that it is fleeting and changing. Like a stream, thoughts will flow down the river if we let them and new ones will come. We are not our thoughts, feelings or actions. Thoughts come and go. Feelings come and go. We are something much deeper than the chatter in our head.

Imagine a scene in a movie where there is a storm at sea: threatening thunderstorms, gargantuan waves, winds over 100 mph…in other words– intense drama. If someone aboard the boat would jump into the ocean, how deep would they have to go before they didn’t feel the effects of the storm on the surface? I’m no scientist, but at some point, 50 feet, 100 feet or maybe even 200 feet, they would find complete quiet, total calm.

A place that isn’t touched by the storm happening on the surface of the ocean. So too, within every person is a place that is not affected by the storms of our conceptual mind.

Regardless of the content of our thinking, the habitual way we use our G-d-given gift of thought or the ideas we have about ourselves, life or others, we are something else. If we can look beyond the compelling nature of our thinking toward the true nature of a human being, we will touch an inner space that is complete love.

From this space arises the voice of our soul in the form of compassion, understanding, clarity, creativity, answers, direction, resilience, forgiveness and self-love. We cannot find the answers we seek in the midst of the storm. There is a quiet beneath the storm. We don’t have to do anything to create this quiet. It exists without our thinking our way into it. In fact we can’t think our way into it. We can’t get there through our intellect.

As our intellect settles down, a deep quiet reveals itself in the form of a feeling. A feeling of connection to the Divine source of life where all answers lie.

From this place, we can insightfully see that our behavioral choices are not an indication of who we are, but rather where we are.

In a state of love and understanding, no human being behaves in a hurtful way to others or toward themselves. Therefore, if someone is behaving inappropriately or in a self-destructive manner, it is an indication of their state of mind, not an indication of their character. States of mind shift moment to moment, as does thought.

As our relationship to our thinking shifts, where we don’t see the need to take it all so seriously, our experience of life shifts (even if our circumstances stay the same). When I stop believing that I need to control or manage my thinking, evaluate my feelings or judge my experience, fresh new thought comes in and changes my perspective.

In a healthy state of mind, where self-love and compassion arise, we will see with clarity what we need to do to clean up our mistakes and let our wisdom guide us. The less interested we are in our thinking about ourselves, the more present we will be to our true selves.

Ride The Wave

By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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with peace of mind.

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