It takes a lot of courage to look in the mirror and truly see ourselves for who we are, with all of our weaknesses. and love ourselves for all of them, not in spite of them. It has been a particularly introspective week for me, this week, and I was forced to take a hard look at myself. At my self-worth. at how much love I give myself each day.
Due to various reasons (society, culture, up-bringing etc etc), I found that I love myself for my accomplishments. I’m pleased with myself when I do something *good*. But I don’t like myself as much when I am in situations where I’m not kind or I haven’t behaved in a *fitting* manner. These are all very personalized definitions. But beyond that, I realized that this then was a very conditional love. I loved myself sometimes, and not so much other times.
But thats not what true love is. true love is unconditional. It is an emotion that does not judge or criticize. It just gives warmth unconditionally. It has this tremendous power of giving and compassion and healing. And if I couldn’t love myself unconditionally as much on the good days as the bad days, how could I love others unconditionally?
Love does not need to based on anything. We don’t have to love someone for something. we can just love, for the sake of love. (as my friend Laura says in her book, beautifully). This unconditional love has the power to open our hearts. And it can be practiced by staying connected to this source of immense love that connects us all, of being mindful at all times of the unconditional love that resides in our hearts. Sometimes it is harder to stay connected than at other times, this is when coming back to the breath or mindfulness can help.
A person close to me told me recently that what we see in others is a mirror to our own self. So true! Have you noticed that the things we often judge others on are often based off of our judgment of our own selves. When we don’t like something in ourselves and we see it in others, we balk from facing it. we hide behind the judgment card. and yet who are we really judging?
and when we are more loving and tolerant towards our own weaknesses and failings, compassion for others comes more naturally. There were times this week when I suffered at my own failings. And it made me realize yet again, my failings themselves weren’t a problem. It was my own judgment of them that made it a problem. If we waited till all of us were perfect beings to stop suffering, that would never happen! We don’t have to suffer because of our imperfections. Instead, we could accept them, with unconditional love. Welcome them even, as a chance to look deeply at our wounds and heal them. It is awareness of our actions and emotions without judgment that can help us be joyful and free. Bring us closer to the experience of our true self. For freedom comes from accepting ourselves and yet not being limited by our narrow views of failings and successes. Knowing we can start over any moment we choose to. Knowing that no matter what our actions, we have the infinite capacity for unconditional love.
With love, S.