Today I want to talk to you about self-love, and I think one of the hardest things that we have to deal with as human beings is the ability to truly love ourselves.
It's really easy for us to love other things, so for example, if you're a dog person, I think it's really easy to love dogs; and if you're a cat person, it's really easy to love cats; and if you're in love with someone, or you love someone, it's really easy to love that person; and, when you watch nature programs, you see whales on the television, it's really easy to love those things around us.
I think the hardest thing is to be able to really love ourselves. Like, when you look in the mirror, or were looking at your naked body, I could imagine that the first thing you would tell me is what's wrong with your body. Maybe you're too fat, you're too thin, too old, too young, your nose, shoulders, hips, belly, arms, or other parts are too big or too small. This isn’t right, that isn’t right, I've got lines here; and the possibilities go on. I think what happens is that when we critique ourselves that actually we remove ourselves more and more from the ability of loving ourselves.
And I also think that we do that on an emotional level: I'm selfish, I'm insecure, I did that wrong; and I think we give ourselves a really, really hard, tough time, and it's no surprise that once we've done all of that, that we kind of find that difficult to, to really love ourselves. I think that even, if you're in love with somebody, you know somebody's imperfections, yet you still love them anyway. You see through them or maybe you accept them, but also at another level when you then apply that same rule to yourself it kind of doesn't hold.
If you think about mistakes that you may have done in your life, with people and situations that you would have played differently, often you would still feel guilty about how you were with that person. But if somebody else was in your shoes and, say, you were advising a friend, you'd be saying, "well you just need to really let yourself off the hook, you need to forgive yourself, you need to let go". Yet we find it very, very hard to do that to ourselves, and that it's all a bit like bleh, and life doesn't feel that good! We just feel very removed from ourselves and we don't love ourselves, we're not happy with ourselves.
I want to bring to you today the possibility of the kind and compassionate voice that you could bring to yourself. For example, like how could you, with all of your perceived imperfections, how could you still find in your hearts that place of self-love, that place of self-care, that place that could forgive yourself. And then, the step beyond that, is realizing that there's nothing to forgive. When I look back over my past, and different decisions I made, and different, different situations that I was in, then I think "I'm the age I am today, and I probably handle situations better today than, say, I did five or ten years ago". Each time I had something going on in my life, I did the best decision at the time. So, in each moment of my life, I made the best decision based on the resources, knowledge, decisions and possibilities at that time. Each time I made the best decision and I think in telling myself that, I can love that part of me a little bit more, I can bring love to that.
I often hear people tell me that they take care of others before themselves. I would argue, if you look at modern spiritual discussions, that you need to place yourslf at the top of your tree in terms of priority. Who is top of your priority list? It has to be you, because how can you love other people, truly love other people, if you can't truly love yourself, if you can't truly bring it back in and love yourself more than others. There are some decisions I've made in my life where I have basically come to the realisation that I would do this if it was for another person, but actually I love me more, and I love me more to stop me putting myself in situations that are harmful to me or to stop me keep giving to situations and people that don't serve me that, that deplete me. You need to be at the top of your list.
So it is naturally difficult, but better, to be really, really kind to yourself. Here are some examples of your behaviour that will help you to figure out how well you are loving yourself. For example, how is your schedule, is it packed full of different things; or do you allow yourself space, time to breathe, time to just be yourself; do you feed yourself nice food, things that are healthy for you? Do you exercise your body; are you kind to yourself, do you let yourself binge-watch stuff on Netflix, or hve a long soak in the bath with oils and candles to relax, or have a massage? What is it that you personally like to do for yourself? It's like saying, "where is that kindness to yourself, how do you treat yourself kindly?
So today, I invite you to consider a little bit about being able to have self-love. It's about forgiving yourself, it's about finding that kind voice in yourself about yourself, it's about putting yourself first, and it's about being kind to yourself, doing nice things for yourself, taking care of yourself.
So please have a little play around with the idea of loving yourself more, and just try it out for a while, see how you get on with that.
Good luck and please let me know how you get on.
Okay lots of love, blessings to you. Thank you.