Love…. There has been written so much about it. People try to express love through visual art, music, poetry… And yet it’s something no one can really explain. The reason is simple: it’s coming from the heart, no mind. Or maybe even from the soul as Rumi wrote once:
I love my friends neither with my heart nor with my mind. Just in case heart might stop, Mind can forget. I love them with my soul. Soul never stops or forget.
Why do we love someone? Where does love come from? And what is love??? Once I wrote my thoughts on love in relationships and its different levels/stages(kama, prema, bhakti).
Today’s post is about self-love as this is a source for love we can share with others. It has nothing to do with egoism. Only when you nourish yourself you can nourish others. Without self-love we will always look for some «loving» relationship that will make us happy. Coming from the place of lack, it will be always based on negativity of lack. It will be about demanding love from a partner rather than unconditionally sharing our inner love. How can you share if you don’t have enough? What can you squeeze out if you are empty?…
illustration by Jason V Lu
Many years ago, a friend of mine gave me a little book by Don Miguel Ruiz called «The Mastery of Love». He said it helped him tremendously, and it was his everyday reading book for years. My English was quite poor back then, but I found that it was written in very simple words yet the meaning was very profound. Here comes a few pages of what the author said on self-love:
«Everyone has a price, and Life respects that price. But that price is not measured in dollars or in gold; it is measured in love. More than that, it is measured in self-love. How much you love yourself - that is your price – and Life respects the price. When you love yourself, your price is very high, which means your tolerance for self-abuse is very low. It’s very low because you respect yourself. You like yourself the way you are, and this makes your price higher. If you don’t like things about yourself, the price is a little lower.
Sometimes the self-judgment is so strong that people need to be numb just to be with themselves. If you don’t like a person, you can walk away from that person. If you don’t like a group of people, you can walk away from those people. But if you don’t like yourself, it doesn’t matter where you go, you are right there. To avoid being with yourself, you need to take something to numb you, to take your mind away from yourself. Perhaps some alcohol is going to help. Perhaps some drugs will help. Perhaps eating – just eat, eat, eat. The self-abuse can get much worse. There are people who really feel self-hatred. They are self destructive, killing themselves little by little, because they don’t have the courage to kill themselves fast.
If you observe self-destructive people, you will see they attract people just like them. What do we do if we don’t like ourselves? We try to get numb with alcohol to forget our suffering. That’s the excuse we use. Where are we going to get alcohol? We go to a bar to drink, and guess who’s going to be there? People just like us, who try to avoid themselves also, who also try to get numb. We get numb together, we start talking about our suffering, and we understand each other very well. We even start to enjoy it. We understand each other perfectly because we vibrate in the same frequency. We are both being self-destructive. Then I hurt you, you hurt me – a perfect relationship in hell.
What happens when you change? For whatever reason, you no longer need the alcohol. It’s okay now to be with yourself, and you really enjoy it. You no longer drink, but you have the same friends, and everyone’s drinking. They get numb, they start getting happier, but you can clearly see that their happiness is not real. What they call happiness is a rebellion against their own emotional pain. In that “happiness” they are so hurt that they have fun hurting other people and hurting themselves.
You no longer fit in, and of course they resent you because you are no longer like them. “Hey, you are rejecting me because you no longer drink with me, because you don’t get high with me.” Now you have to make a choice: You can step back, or you can go to another level of frequency and meet people who finally accept themselves like you do. You find there is another realm of reality, a new way of relationship, and you no longer accept certain kinds of abuse».
illustration by Jason V Lu
And a bit more from the same chapter «The Dream Master»: «EVERY RELATIONSHIP IN YOUR LIFE CAN BE HEALED, every relationship can be wonderful, but it’s always going to begin with you. You need to have the courage to use the truth, to talk to yourself with the truth, to be completely honest with yourself. Perhaps you don’t have to be honest with the whole world, but you can be honest with yourself. Perhaps you cannot control what is going to happen around you, but you can control your own reactions. Those reactions are going to guide the dream of your life, your personal dream. It’s your reactions that make you so unhappy or make you so happy.
Your reactions are the key to having a wonderful life. If you can learn to control your own reactions, then you can change your routines, and you can change your life. You are responsible for the consequences of whatever you do, think, say, and feel. Perhaps it’s hard for you to see what actions caused the consequence – what emotions, what thoughts – but you can see the consequence because you are suffering the consequence or enjoying the consequence. You control your personal dream by making choices. You have to see if you like the consequence of your choices or not. If it’s a consequence you enjoy, then keep doing what you are doing. Perfect. But if you don’t like what is happening in your life, if you aren’t enjoying your dream, then try to find out what is causing the consequences you don’t like. This is the way to transform your dream. »