Love Who You Are
February is traditionally the month of Love, with Valentine’s Day on February 14th and its wealth of ways to say, “I love you” to your special someone. Valentine’s Day also reminds me to love myself. It has been said that you cannot truly love another until you love yourself, or in other words, you cannot give something you do not have. Our personal ego might chime in, “That’s so vain and self-centered, to love one’s self.” Yet our brother and way-shower Jesus taught, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” implying that self-love is on an equal footing with love for your neighbors, and that without love of self, you don’t have the capacity for truly loving others.
Years ago a reporter asked the Dalai Lama, “What about self-hatred?” The Dalai Lama seemed perplexed and asked his interpreter to have the reporter restate the question. The question was repeated again, “What about self-hatred?” The Dalai Lama shook his head and said, “This is a foreign concept to me. Why would someone hate themself?”
Indeed, why would someone hate themself? And yet often a lot of the harsh judgment in our thoughts is about ourselves. Can you relate to not feeling good enough, worthy enough, whole enough, skinny enough, smart enough? Do you often judge yourself harshly for mistakes, for things you have said or done, or not done, for that matter. My friend, the late Rev. Sallye Taylor, used to ask, “Is it safe to walk the streets of your mind?” Think about that. What are the messages you are telling yourself in the quiet of your own mind? Criticizing the way we look, act, and speak sets us on a downward spiral to low self-esteem, depression, and self-hatred.
Remember this—you are a child of God, and Love is who you are! I invite you to let go of any limiting beliefs and judgmental thoughts and begin to practice loving who you are during this month of Love. What small thing can you do now to show yourself some love? Here are some suggestions, take a walk in nature, practice heart-centered breathing, take a bubble bath, go to bed early and get a good night’s rest, start your day with a positive word for the day and repeat it often, use affirmations regularly, like – I am a light in this world. I am centered and poised as I move through my day. I am loved just as I am. I love myself.
Shauna Shapiro, author of ‘Good Morning, I Love You’ speaks of how practicing self-kindness is the secret sauce of fulfillment and joy. She recommends putting your hand over your heart and saying, ‘I love you, and your name’ several times a day.
Learn to make loving yourself a habit and rewire your brain for self-compassion. When you are full of self-love, you have plenty of love to share, and love becomes a continuous flow of giving and receiving. This is how we love the world; this is how the world becomes more loving, one heart at a time.
On Valentine’s Day and every day, Love Who You Are!
“Love binds all things together in perfect harmony.” ~ Charles Fillmore
Rev. Yvonne McAndrew