“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”—Buddha
“I am a good person. I deserve good things”—the thoughts drifted through my mind. I was overwhelmed by a sense of abundance as I stood looking out over the flowers and vegetables I had planted that were now growing contentedly in the damp earth.
My thoughts expanded to include awareness of my children, my friends, the people I had touched in my life … people I had given to. Tears came to my eyes as I stepped back into the kitchen and murmured words of appreciation to my partner as he labored over our kitchen renovation. Even that action triggered deep awareness in me of the way I support and value the people I interact with every day. I wept as I spontaneously experienced the Radiance of my own Beingness and the Beauty of my own Soul.
Ego-istic? No, it was definitely not an ego position, definitely not an ego awareness of myself. THAT perception of me is often critical and acknowledging only of my shortcomings. I had stated my daily intention on-line just moments before I stepped into my garden. My Daily Intention was—“to receive, to acknowledge, to enjoy the Loving and Support that is always present for me in my life.” At the time I wrote those words, I had been thinking in terms of “outside in”—that is, of the loving and support that other people offer to me every day, that I thought I might be overlooking.
I was not expecting the Loving and Support to flood me from the Inside Out. I did not realize that I was the One whose love, support, acknowledgment and appreciation I had been missing. I hadn’t seen that that loving and support was the only loving and support that really mattered to me, the only sustenance that could fill me up completely. Indeed my own adoration and approval were things I craved to the Core of my Beingness. And, until that moment, when all that appreciate of myself had come rushing through me in response to the Intent I had set, I had not known for sure and unequivocally that I am a good person and deserving of good things, most especially my own loving.
How often is that true of all of us? How often do we look out into the world for loving and support and then feel frustrated because either we don’t get it or we are not able to perceive it because it doesn’t look, feel or sound like we thought it would. (“You are the only one on the planet who knows how to love you exactly the way you need to be loved.”—J.R. Hinkins) How often do we actually miss whatever love and support might be coming in from the world because we are so busy judging and evaluating ourselves, and finding ourselves lacking in some way? Or, best case scenario, how often are we simply so busy loving and supporting others that we simply forget to share some of that “Soul/Heart Nutrition” with ourselves?
So, my question to myself became: “How can I make my own loving and support more available to myself? How might any of us do that at any time?” The question boggled my mind for a moment, and then I realized that the answer was present for me within the context of my own life. I have many loving relationships with others in my world. I decided I would look at what I do to create those amazing relationships and do those same things with myself:
1. Say “I love you” a lot—by name, to my face, and at unexpected moments during the day. When I see myself reflected in the mirror or a window I am passing … when I am sitting or walking or working at my computer … before I go to sleep at night, these are all good times for me to murmur that phrase to myself with caring. “I love you.”
2. Acknowledge myself. Notice the good things I do as I do them … or when I remember I did them … or when I notice the results … or when other people point them out. Pay attention to the things I do right and well and note them to myself consciously and out loud. “YAY ME! I did GOOD!”
3. Appreciate my GREAT traits and qualities, not just what I do. Notice what is cool about me, stuff that just is, that I have no control over. Hear it when other people comment on things they like about me. Really take all that in, instead of passing it off or denying it. Revel in it! Repeat it to myself:
“Wow—you look great!”
“You have such pretty eyes!”
“You are so SMART!”
“You are an AMAZING human being!”
“You have a great sense of humor!”
“You are so clever.”
4. Celebrate myself by giving myself all the same delightful experiences I give to others I love—flowers, chocolate, special moments, little gifts, walks in the park, dinner at my favorite restaurant, going to see that movie I want to see that no one else is interested in. Simply GIFT myself with reminders I am special and loved.
5. Enjoy BEING ME! The fact is, I cannot be anyone BUT myself this lifetime—so I may as well thoroughly ENJOY it, by choice! ”I CHOOSE me! I am BLESSED to be me! I am delighted by it! I own it! I love it! I appreciate everything about the “ME” experience! I may as well accept and HAVE FUN with that one aspect of my life I cannot change! Say it out loud: “I LOVE BEING ME!”
SELF-LOVE— a love that, throughout history, has been portrayed as evil and the source of great harm between people. But really, is self-love bad? I would argue that it is not self-love, but rather the lack of it that moves people to do harm towards others. I would also note that self-loving, coupled with healthy empathy and compassion, is the Source of the ability to share GOODNESS with others. When self-love is borne and reflective of the Love of one’s Soul for one’s human self, we become more capable of loving other human beings, and of sharing the fullness of loving we experience and carry within ourselves with them, without fear of loss or “not-enoughness.” When we are happy and full within ourselves, when we feel safe and content with our own inner relationship, we become more capable of loving others and we have more good stuff to give. When our own cup is full, because we have filled it with our own “love and affection,” we have LOTS of extra to share!