You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

-Buddha

Such a beautiful reminder.

Yet, we spend so much time and energy searching throughout the entire universe for other beings, causes, and pursuits that are more deserving of our love and affection. Why is it so hard to accept that we ourselves are deserving of our love and affection?

Unfortunately, we don’t have many good examples of healthy self-love! We see a lot of self-absorption that is damaging both to the self-absorbed person and to others—mostly due to neglect. We see a lot of martyrdom, disguised as love, which, again, hurts both the martyr and others—who often respond with feelings of guilt or shame.

But healthy self-love is neither self-absorbed nor requires for us to be a martyr. So, how do we love ourselves?

We begin by entering into a dialogue with ourselves. We give ourselves permission to listen to ourselves. And, then just as we would do with a loved one, we do what we can to nurture ourselves. Sometimes this may mean that we slow down, that we are silent, that we are gentle. Other times it may mean that we push ourselves, challenge ourselves, encourage ourselves. But whatever we do, we do with love.

Loving ourselves is the best gift we can give to ourselves, our loved ones, and the world. By loving ourselves, we soften ourselves, and we make ourselves more useful and beneficial to others, and we also give permission to those around us to do the same for themselves.

-Tara

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