The importance of Self-Love

A happy life is determined by the extent to which you love yourself. At least, that's what they say. But to reach that state of self-love often requires a long journey. Because who is this so-called 'self' that is supposed to love 'itself'? Are we talking about two selves within ourselves? Or are those two selves still the same person?

We experience inner conflict because we live from the so-called 'split self.' When a part of you feels like secretly devouring the candy cabinet, another part within yourself calls you to order and urges you to resist the temptation. When we live from a split inner self, it is not easy to know when we are making the right choice, right? From the conflict within ourselves, we sometimes make the right choice, but sometimes we do not. There is no guarantee. Living with inner conflict often leads to a feeling of insecurity, denial, fear in times of crisis, passivity, and dependence on others.

Can we defuse inner conflict through Self-Love?

Partly, yes. A person who is emotionally securely attached feels confident and dares to rely on their own inner knowing when a decision needs to be made. Even more importantly, such a person is much less inclined to self-condemnation. Self-condemnation peeks over the wall when you suddenly punish yourself or hate yourself for something you have done and shouldn't have. There simply cannot be self-love when self-condemnation is present. In your process of personal growth, self-love is a process that comes with ups and downs. It is not necessarily a constant state of being.

"All love is self-love."

This whole idea of self-love originated thousands of years ago in the Vedic tradition with the surprising statement: "All love is self-love." Is it really the case that when we feel love for our children or friends, even for God or creation, that we are actually expressing love for the self? There is a wealth of wisdom hidden in this statement, but we must examine and unravel it step by step.

Firstly, it is important to understand that the term 'self' does not refer to the ego-self, nor the personality or identity of someone. Many misunderstand this term and form an idea around the concept of self-love that is linked to selfishness, conceit, or being full of oneself. This can be observed when the ego puts on a show of so-called self-love in order to mask its underlying insecurity. The split self exists in each of us as the ego constantly tries to make choices based on what it knows and from the inner flow of desires, fears, opinions, beliefs, wishes, etc. When you focus on the ego, the self is an accumulation of experiences from the past. Since experiences can be both positive and negative, the daily self is too filled with contradictions to love.

Secondly, it is also not about self-confidence. It is good to have a healthy dose of self-confidence, but that is not what this Vedic statement is about. Because you can build up a good deal of self-confidence in your job because you are praised for what you do, but as soon as you lose your job, your self-confidence crashes like a pierced kite, straight into depression.

To achieve a state of true self-love, other steps must be taken. The 'self' we are talking about here can only be found at a much deeper level of consciousness, namely in the layer where you can experience the True Self. This is much deeper than the layer in which the ego and the daily self play their roles. The True Self arises from the flow of creative intelligence that comes directly from the Source. In the Source, a field of infinite consciousness is present from which creative intelligence is born.

Living your life from your True Self

As every impulse, urge, or thought moves through our minds, we attach 'I, me, mine' to it. In other words, we identify ourselves with the impulse itself. An impulse from the source of creative intelligence, however, will carry with it love, compassion, insight, beauty, creativity, intelligence, blessing, bliss, wonder, or personal growth. These impulses arise from pure consciousness in which the ego does not exist. Regardless of what the impulse is at that moment, when you identify with it, you are in contact with your True Self.

Undoubtedly, you have caught a glimpse of your True Self at various points in your life. These are the moments when you have experienced true love, beauty, blessing, or inspiration, almost overwhelmed by the intensity of the moment, without your ego having the time to spin its own idea about it. This is why the Vedic saying that all love is love of the Self is so meaningful: it is indeed the True Self that is the only Self that can experience real unconditional love, apart from ego or identity.

Why can't we constantly experience the True Self?

Our connection to the True Self is severed because we condition ourselves to focus on the ego or the daily self. Thus, it is not the real you who speaks, thinks, or feels, but your karmic history and therefore a creation of your past from which you think and act.

Understanding this makes it easier to walk the spiritual path. You can become aware of negative thoughts, moments when you condemn yourself, or bad memories, and see clearly that this is not who you essentially are. You are not who you think you are. What would happen if you paid less attention to negativity and self-condemnation and focused more and more on love, beauty, compassion, creativity, and all the other impulses that come from your true self? You will discover that over time, you will live closer to your True Self simply because your focus has shifted there. You will start to live more and more from the attraction that is called 'Swarupa' in Sanskrit, or the attraction of the Self. The mind naturally wants to be filled with everything that comes from the Source, such as love, bliss, etc.

The spiritual path invites you to let your mind go where it wants to go, free from all distractions of the daily self and ego-self. You will find that all love is love of the self. From this state of being, you will love your loved ones even more than before, simply because you will see them from a state of bliss consciousness, rather than from an ego consciousness. Knowing and experiencing that the True Self exists is a big step in your spiritual evolution.

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Author: Lies Paelinck

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