the makers of Wannanumee and Wannanubodee
But here’s the catch. A lot of people do not know what it means to love themselves. They are so caught up in self-hate that self-love is a foreign language in a country on the other side of the planet. Or they have been taught that self-love is only ever selfish and so they avoid any semblance of it. Or they have bought into our culture’s obsession with self-improvement on the outside (without any inner work) so that self-love only means improving one’s sex appeal.
Or they believe self-love is giving into every whim and desire that crosses the mind. Which it does not. Would a loving parent feed candy to a child every day in place of breakfast, lunch, and dinner? No. That’s indulgence and it’s harmful. A treat here or there is no big deal and in the larger picture of self-love it’s an important piece, but our society (and even some of our spiritual teachers) have so denigrated the true depth of self-love that some people think having everything they want when they want it no matter what it costs is the greatest description of self-love, when in actuality it can be very destructive to their highest and best!
Let’s break it down into a Trinity of Self-Love.
1) I consider self-love to be equivalent to self-care and to treating yourself how you would like to be treated by others (a sort of Golden Rule jiu-jitsu): with kindness, patience, compassion, generosity, fairness, nourishment, etc. even (or especially) when difficult lessons need to be learned. Self-love is never selfish because even if we take the Golden Rule as it is, if we are to love the other and do to the other as we love and do to ourselves, we’d better be loving ourselves pretty darn good in order for that principle to make any sense at all.
2) I’ve been referring to your bodies plural. What do I mean by that? Well, this: you have a physical body, yes, but you have many bodies, and by delineating them, I believe it can help up understand the myriads of ways you have the opportunity to express love to yourself. So let’s take them one by one.
The Physical Body: We know what the ingredients are for a healthy body: good nutritious food, exercise, rest, and play. So what to do about the self-sabotage? Matt Kahn suggests setting a loving intention before imbibing of any addictive or compulsive behavior you’re trying to overcome. Experiment for the next two or three weeks: before you take that bite of food, or smoke, or drink say, “This is the most loving thing I can do for myself.” And then go right ahead and take that bite of food, puff, or sip. See if by setting a loving intention (which then conflicts with the self-sabotaging action) your subconscious resets your behavior over time. It has worked for me! If not, there’s always 12 Step or EFT!
The Emotional Body: The task to loving your emotional body is to accept all your emotions in order to see what the lesson is, as Rumi’s poem below guides.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
They may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. ~Rumi
The Mental Body: Loving your mental body also means accepting and loving all thoughts that come, even the not so loving ones. Again, once acceptance and love happens then transformation into positivity and unlimited potential becomes possible. EFT is great for neutralizing negative thinking patterns and tapping in positive thinking. Meditation is also a great tool for strengthening your mental focus.
The Astral Body: Loving your astral or soul body is all about learning your soul lessons and pursuing your spiritual calling. Where does your most joyful calling intersect with the world’s greatest need?
The Body of our Affairs: Loving your body of affairs means attending to and caring for your relationships in the world: with others, with groups, with money, etc., to the best of your abilities, while maintaining your love to your mind/heart/soul/body. It’s a lot but love here is all about balance!
The Earth Body: When you enlarge your understanding of yourself beyond just the individual, that is, you wake up to see and know that you are One with All That Is, you come to love all beings and the earth itself as parts of your own self. When a certain number of people realize this, we will shift humanity’s relationship with the planet so no harm is done. Thus on a daily basis, consider the cost to the earth in seeking to fulfill your desires at any level. What does that new car/computer/iPhone/job/house/vacation/whatever, cost my earth body? Perhaps applying Matt Kahn’s principle here will help, so begin affirming, “This is the most loving thing I can do for my earth body” and watch and stay alert for how love arises for the earth in all that you do.
3) Remember that trying to love is not what we’re after here. At your core, your Truest Self IS love. Once you center and ground ourselves in this Love, caring for yourself and your various bodies becomes easier and easier. Once you learn to accept and love everything that comes your way, then you shift into being love, not trying to do love and then only love returns to you in abundance.
I like how Story Waters has framed the shift that happens when you have learned to love and accept all that is and all that comes your way:
“Freedom is not superior to limitation; with this realization I am able to choose freedom. Happiness is not superior to suffering; with this realization I am able to let go of suffering. Abundance is not superior to poverty; with this realization my abundance flows. Nothing is superior to anything; with this knowing I step out from hierarchy, competition, and struggle. In this state I do not judge life; therefore I do not feel separate from it. I am so glad of the diversity in the world; in its reflection I see my own freedom to be whatever I wish to be. We are not here to be one; we are here to be many. Through seeing that beyond this illusion we are all one, we free ourselves to be the many. I am not tied to any singular path to be a certain way. I am diverse. I am ever changing. I am an explorer of All As Truth.”
And I would add: “I am an explorer of All As LOVE.”
You are Love! Allow your Love to shine to yourself today and to all your bodies!