3 Aspects of Self-Love Important For Our Spiritual Growth
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
Self-love is the most important work to learn on the path to self-transformation and spiritual growth as it is the timeless recognition of who we truly are. Self-love grows from the realization and acknowledgment of our Divine Truth, our Higher Selves. Once we understand the truth of our Being, beyond ego identification, and once we remove all layers between us and our truth, all there remains is complete, unconditional love. Cultivating self-love requires self-acceptance, self-compassion and self-care.
Loving ourselves requires looking deeply into ourselves. The degree to which we love ourselves depends on our deepest sense of who and what we think we are, what we are capable of, what we deserve, and what is appropriate to us. How we view and treat ourselves determines how we lead our lives and how we place ourselves in the world. Self-love breaks us free from the chains of limited belief patterns and societal conditioning that keep us suppressed and unable to realize our true power and potential. By loving ourselves fully and unconditionally, we liberate ourselves from the prison of self-judgment, self-criticism and self-sabotage.
“Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
Loving ourselves does not mean we are selfish or self-absorbed; rather it means we honor and respect ourselves for who we are. So often we disregard our own needs in order to please, to belong and to be accepted by others. As we learn to love ourselves, every aspect of our lives begins to blossom, including our health and relationships.
Here are 3 aspects of self-love that are important for our spiritual growth:
Most of us struggle with self-acceptance. We, ourselves, are often our worst critics. Many of us have not been taught to value ourselves and to know our self-worth. We constantly compare ourselves with others and set high expectations of ourselves. And when we fail to measure up to who we ought to be, we reject, judge and criticize ourselves. We forget that what we are is always whole and perfect, and we often suffer when we seek wholeness and perfection outside of ourselves.
” When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept yourself, you are invincible.” ~ Tina Lifford
To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections. In order love and accept ourselves fully and unconditionally, we must approve of ourselves and believe in our hearts that who we are, just the way we are, is enough. By letting go of false beliefs about ourselves and how we think we should be, we discover that we are already what we are looking for, whole and complete, even in the midst of feelings of unworthiness, weakness, inadequacy and insecurity. We realize that we don’t need acceptance or approval by others. All we need is our own unconditional love- fully embracing and honoring our Divine Truth.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Our brokenness is often due to feelings of unworthiness and pain from the past. But we cannot heal and grow in the past or in the future. The only place where we can find our wholeness is in the now. Therefore, self-acceptance is essentially the acceptance of our presence in the moment, without wishing it were any different- allowing ourselves to feel whatever shows up for us in the moment- sadness, grief, anger, or fear- welcoming and accepting it all without any judgment- knowing that every experience is an opportunity for learning and growth. In this deep acceptance, we discover that we are complete just as we are, perfect even in our imperfections.
“As a person you will always feel incomplete. As a being, as life, you are always complete.”
For our personal and spiritual development, having self-compassion is just as important as having compassion for others. Self-compassion means extending kindness and understanding to ourselves. This is an essential aspect of self-love. It involves being mindful and paying attention to our pain and suffering and letting go of all self-judgment and criticism; especially when we are faced with life challenges and personal failures. Self-compassion includes self-forgiveness. We must forgive our anger, frustration, mistakes and shortcomings in order to grow. We must understand that it’s important to be patient and gracious with ourselves on the path to healing and self-transformation. We must honor our humanness and let go of all expectations. We can transcend our suffering by being open and gentle to ourselves when we are faced with painful experiences. Through mindfulness and present moment awareness, we are able to connect deeper with ourselves and process our feelings more effectively with less reaction and without any judgment. This loving awareness allows us to live with greater ease, inner peace and well-being in our daily lives. In addition, self-compassion leads to greater compassion towards others which is fundamental for the healing and evolution of all humanity.
“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Steve Maraboli
Self-care is a vital part of our journey towards growth. Spiritual self-care means caring for ourselves wholesomely; this includes meeting our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Self-care requires us to live consciously and mindfully, identifying our values and priorities- from the foods we feed our bodies, the thoughts we feed our minds, the way we speak to ourselves, to the people we allow into our lives. We always have a choice. And the choices we make reflect our self-worth, which depends on how much we value ourselves. When we make choices based on self-love, we improve our health and well-being and raise our vibrational energy and therefore attract more love, joy, peace, and abundance into our lives.
“Find the love you seek, by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you that is your true home.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Furthermore, self-care requires us to be true to ourselves and to live authentically. When we are aligned with our True Selves, we approach life with more ease and contentment. To live from our true center, we must dare to reach deeper within ourselves, to listen to our intuition and be guided by our souls. This is how we can realize our passion, purpose and dreams and reach our fullest potential. Just as it is essential to nurture our bodies, it is necessary to nurture our souls and take time to connect with Spirit. Meditation is a wonderful way to go within ourselves and to connect with Source where we find guidance, wisdom and inspiration.
Self-love is one of the most powerful gifts we can give to ourselves. The more we love ourselves, the more we become ourselves, for love is the heart and essence of who we are.
Love and Light,