There are actually a wide variety of self-love strategies. What’s important to understand is that it is not really an additive process. You need to shed the shin or beliefs, values and attitudes that you adopted to protect yourself in this life. Being in a relaxed state of mind helps you to do this. Anything that gives you another perspective and leads you away from erroneous beliefs can be termed a self-love strategy.
Books on Self-Love
Of course, there is no shortage of spiritual teachers who can share a lot of wisdom when it comes to self-love. Krishnamurti, Osho, Alan Watts, Sadhguru, Tolle, the Dalai Lama, the list goes on. All of them offer a different perspective with regard to how to achieve self-realization. But only a select few identify love as the true source and deal with it directly.
One of the modern teachers that does is known as Don Miguel Ruiz, who is a Shaman and proponent of Toltec wisdom. All of his books have been international bestsellers and include The Four Agreements, the Fifth Agreement, The Voice of Knowledge, and The Mastery of Love. Another powerful speaker on self-love is Marianne Williamson. Her first book, A Return to Love had a major impact.
There are many books to choose from in terms of reading. It is important not to be critical or judgemental of any book you read. If it’s not for you, just put it down and select another that is more Appropriate.
Don’t feel the need to write a 1000 word review about how bad it was. The negativity will just bounce back to you. In any case, love is to be expressed and developed, and there is only so much that you can learn from books alone, regardless of how good the material happens to be. Practice beats theory.
Quickest Paths to Self-Love
To love yourself, you must look at yourself clearly. And doing this is not as easy as you might think. Most people have an idea of themselves that they associate with their jobs and accomplishments. These ideas have nothing to do with reality, whether they are positive or negative.
Mirror gazing is a good way to really look at yourself. The eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, and you might find looking directly into your own eyes to be very uncomfortable. Try gazing at your own eyes for a few minutes every morning. You can also do this with a partner to increase love for each other. Remember, the main reason that you do not love yourself is that you cannot really see yourself due to a lack of perception. Any kind of modality that clears your mind and your perceptual lens assist you in self-love and compassion of others.
Compassion is itself not really a ‘path’ or means to self-love. What happens is that when you becoming more self-loving, you become more compassionate towards others. In terms of the shadow, what you see in others you detest, as it is alive within you. But when the shadow has been integrated, you are more compassionate to those who suffer from the issues that you have integrated. You recognize them more clearly because you used to have them, and your compassion is far greater because of the Integration.
Discipline and focus can be a means to self-love. This entails moving away from automatic behaviors which are not serving you. But it can be very tricky to get the balance right between being dogmatic and disciplined. Some people can become extremists and are unable to enjoy the simple joys. Yet for the vast majority, the difficulty lies in a lack of discipline and constant indulgences.
In any case, advertising, social media, processed foods, alcohol, and cigarettes should be minimized as much as possible. If you really love your body, you will make the effort and treat it right with exercise and a reasonable diet. Nothing really beats meditating on love and generating it as raw emotion. This is a professional practice for people who want to really attain a mastery of love. It is the most direct approach of really feeling the energy of love and directing it at an object and towards yourself.
Organization and Cleanliness
While this is secondary, try to clean up the outside environment as much as possible. This means that your room and desk is as clean as possible. You might also want to throw out some of your old stuff or do a garage sale. This is very therapeutic and should serve to clean the mind. You need to put yourself in a safe, clean, and an organized environment.
You also want to rid yourself of any toxic relationships that you have. Toxic relationships in the home or workplace will sap your energy like nothing else. While you are angry, fearful, or ashamed, you are blocking the energy of love. Understand that it is not possible to feel a positive and negative emotion at the same time. So if you are fearful, you are not loving. However, this has an added benefit. If you can manage to generate loving emotions in the midst of a depression of crisis, then it is possible to drag yourself up. This takes a long time to master, and you need to practice being a loving person.
In any case, it is best to rid yourself of toxic relationships and to establish a community of people who are loving, compassionate, and kind. Keep all aspects of your inner and outer environment as clean as you can and be organized in all of your endeavors.
Check back soon as we continue our Self Love Series with Part 5 – The Complexity and Psychology of Self-Esteem.