Shall we talk about love? Let’s talk about love!
One of the most important kinds of love is love for ourselves. One of the difficulties in loving ourselves in an unconditional and unblemished way is the ideas disseminated by society that have been denigrating our consciousness of self-worth which is intrinsic to the simple fact that we are spiritual beings connected to God. Ideas such as “liking ourselves is wrong or selfish” or “loving our neighbour and forgetting about ourselves” have been undermining our ability to be happy and this process started in childhood.
As a child and, in later adolescence, we learned that liking ourselves was the equivalent of being selfish or conceited. We were taught to be “good people”, to put others before ourselves and to think of others first. We were conditioned to share our things with cousins, friends, colleagues, just because it was polite to do so, regardless of our will. You may have heard it said that as a child you had no say in the matter, that your opinion was not important and that you should know your place, a place logically deduced by you to be inferior.
Babies are born full of self-esteem. Later, as children, they consider themselves beautiful and have a well-founded sense of importance in a natural way. But as adolescence approaches, the ideas conveyed by society are already having an effect and annihilating self-confidence and giving way to feelings of inferiority and insecurity. After all, it’s not normal to walk around liking ourselves. What will the others think? The suggestiveness is extremely subtle and the ideas, while not being passed on with ill intent, will set in. Social courtesies are part of this conditioning that society deems a necessary requirement for entering the adult world. Among children, “please,” “if you please,” “excuse me,” “thank you,” and other polite formulas are never used. These are only used for the purpose of pleasing the elders. Instructions like “go say hello to your uncles and grandparents” or “ask permission to get up from the table” among others will give the clear message that others are important. You, as a child, are of no importance. Suggestions like “don’t rely on your own judgment”, “you’re a child, you don’t understand” were helping to internalize the idea that their own opinions were worth less than the opinions of others.
Generalization, as a mechanism of human reasoning, has catalyzed these ideas to levels that have made the reversal of childhood misvalues, a struggle that could extend for the rest of one’s life.
These rules, masked as norms about how to live in society, learned in childhood, persist into adulthood giving rise to all sorts of insecurities that will inevitably be reflected in love life. The love you can convey to others is directly proportional to the love you feel for yourself.
Unconditional love, or, the only love that deserves that title of love, is the ability to allow the people you love to be whatever they want to be and manifest themselves in whatever way they want, without demanding anything in return.
However, how many people, in full accord with their conscience, are actually able to put this into practice? How do you manage the feat of loving others and simultaneously letting them be without trying to advise or influence them to live up to our expectations? The answer is straightforward. However, sometimes it can only be understood from an inner place of spiritual freedom, from a higher level of consciousness: loving oneself. When you love yourself, you automatically consider yourself beautiful, attractive, precious, important, indispensable and valuable. When you have recognized how wonderful and worthy of love you are, you will no longer need the approval of others nor will you be dependent on the judgments of others on your decisions and behaviors.
Only when you leave from a place where you love yourself can you love others, can you give to others and do something for them with a completely different awareness than when you leave from your need for social approval. He begins to love others from a feeling of truth, in which he no longer expects rewards or to receive gratitude and recognition from outside. It is something of his free initiative and not the initiative of an ego dominated by the patterns of childhood. The pleasure you receive is already feeling it when you give, in the present moment, without anticipating your own future. Then you can think of the others! Not until you truly love yourself… If you don’t love yourself and consider yourself worthless, what value will the love you try to give have? And if you can’t give it, can you receive it? Even if someone close to you is capable of giving you true and unconditional love, you won’t be able to receive it because you don’t value yourself and may eventually reject it due to your self-imposed undeserving condition. How valuable you are is dependent on how much love you can feel for yourself in the first place.
Even someone may love you but you will not be able to receive that love because if you don’t love yourself, your tendency will be to devalue both the love that is given to you and the person giving it to you as you make a subconscious correspondence that something of value is given to someone important, of value, and something less valuable is given to someone less important.
When you don’t love yourself, you tend to make demands, to use social tricks to manipulate the other. For example, in love relationships, when one partner tries to rebuse the love of the other through promises the other has made, contracts signed, alliances, people, situations, events and things in common…
The difficulty of saying “I love you” is also closely linked to this problem. When one does not love oneself, a declaration of love carries an enormous weight and a very high risk because it is dependent on the response of the other party. All its value is put into play when the person, lacking self-love, gains the courage (eventually) to utter this word. If their intention is not reciprocated, the person sees a part of themselves lost. On the other hand, if the intention is matched you will only see your dependence on the outside continue and may result in a co-dependent relationship – an immature form of relationship.
However, if the word is spoken by someone who loves himself, then the answer will not be so important since he is not attached to the result. Not being attached to an outcome arising from an action one has undertaken is the true mastery of life. Shiv Charan Singh, creator of the Karam Kriya numerological system, taught me in Sintra (August 2010) that it is not detachment that we should practice but rather non-attachment. Detachment implies the existence of a harm that has already been done and that we are now in the mode of limiting the damage. Non-attachment, in turn, is preventive.
Someone who loves himself has no difficulty in saying “I love you” since he starts from a love that he already has and that he cannot lose, from a love that comes from himself and that he allows himself to have and that, therefore, he does not need from the outside. If it does not get the desired response, although not dependent on it, its value remains intact. Being reciprocated or not would not influence strictly anything in how one sees oneself and the importance one attaches to oneself. Maybe you wanted the other person to match you but it’s not essential to that person.
How to achieve this state? One way was to have been born into a society made up of spiritually enlightened beings. Not that you were dependent on them to condition you for love for yourself because you have had that since birth but simply so that these wise beings, by doing nothing, would leave you intact with the self-esteem with which it was born, the exact opposite of what current society does – it is born with high self-esteem and self-love and condition him to “integrate” him as an adult into society, lowering him with “good intentions” to “tame” him.
Another way, not necessarily the only way, is through spiritual practice. O
is one of the best examples.