“Learning to love yourself is the definition of change.”
“Love expands: it not only sees more and enfolds more, it causes its object to bloom.”
Hugh Prather in Notes on Love and Courage
Loving self is often more difficult than loving others. We can project outside of ourselves who another dear person is or might be or could be and we can understand their challenges and flaws and strengths and weaknesses, but we have a hard time doing that for ourselves.
Are you hard on precious you? Do you judge or criticize yourself or expect more of you even though you almost always do stretch to what you can most produce?
Why might that be? Is Prather right when he says you have to make changes if you are going to learn how to love?
I think we practice learning how to love as we fall in love with a new born baby or a baby pet. Over time with partner, friends, or family we may grow into a fondness and a respect and regard that can become love. Together we are more than one. As Prather says, we bloom.
We practice sorting out what love means particularly in our own heart and mind each time we intentionally pay attention to someone else.. And then, from that practice, as we learn what it feels like and how much we like ourselves when we know how deeply we love someone else, we can begin to turn that loving toward our own person and learn to love her or him as well. Loving others helps us learn how to love self. Even loving a pet can help teach us what love is about.
Were we born knowing how to love? Maybe. Probably. Sometimes when we are not loved properly as infants we loose the capacity for empathy and thus for loving both self and others. I think once love was a divine gift, it came naturally, born deep inside at our very core and we knew all there was to know about it.
Now, as a grown-up love becomes a decision. As we mature we decide that loving someone else feels good, and we learn that feeling loved is wonderful and we grow into intentionally deciding to love self because self tries hard and is intentional about being good and deserves tenderness and compassion. We all deserve to bloom.
- I am grateful I can respect and appreciate, yes love, who I have become over the many years of my life
- I am grateful I am loved
- I am grateful my inner connection to myself is nurtured when I share
- I am grateful I have known significant change throughout my life
- I am grateful I am more than just myself when I let myself love and feel myself being loved
Love always, Nancy