Working my way to recovery from anorexia, one moment at a time.Ask away.
squ33kasaurus said: How would you describe Self Love? I have always struggled with confidence issues and self esteem so its always been a challenge to understand how exactly to love oneself. Internal dialogue? Nourishment? Material? Comfort?
What if confidence weren’t an issue? What if self-esteem weren’t a problem?
Then there is Love. Then there is the Self. It isn’t self-love in the sense of love being given to yourself. It is self love in the revelation that the Self is love and that Love is the Self.
Because you feel feel crummy about yourself, you believe that you need higher self-esteem. Because you feel uncertain and insecure, you think you need confidence. Then you interpret this as a lack of self-love that needs to be remedied.
But if you didn’t feel crummy about yourself and if you didn’t feel insecure, then there would be no problem. So instead of battling low self-esteem and uncertainty with high self-esteem and confidence, why not get to the root of the problem? Objectified self-identity.
Firstly, let’s define a subject-object relationship. I watch a dog. I am the subject, the dog is the object. Pretty straightforward, right?
Now let’s apply this to low self-esteem. You feel bad about yourself. Who is the subject and who is the object? Wait a moment, now you feel good about yourself. Who is the subject and who is the object? What is changing?
What is the thing about which you are feeling good or bad? Your mind will say “myself.” However, it is not actually yourself, is it? You are not looking at yourself the way I was looking at the dog. So what is it you are looking at when you feel good or bad about yourself? An objectified self-identity.
An objectified self-identity is comprised of thoughts, opinions, perspectives, judgments, likes, dislikes, “good” qualities, “bad” qualities, and so on. These are a jumble of things which you collect together and regard as who you are or a reflection of who you are.
Most people live their lives as a slave to their self-image. They want to avoid feeling bad about their self-image and achieve feeling good about their self-image. That’s when you have people avoiding looking at their confusion within and instead they focus on seeking happiness through the limits of that self-image.
When someone talks about loving themself, they are talking about loving their self-image. Obviously that is better than hating your self-image. But does it solve the problem? Just because we cover up the symptoms doesn’t mean we have cured the disease. The suffering that comes from having a self-image is unavoidable so long as you identify knowingly or unknowingly with a self-image.
In modern society, it is very common for love to be filtered through our self-images. That is called conditional love. You love for some reason, because something has been deemed lovable by you. And so that is why self-love seems like such a struggle for you. You are waiting to find something worthy of love about your self-image. But how can you love your captor?
Unconditional love is only possible when you are no longer using a self-image and subject-object relationships as a means by which to experience and give love. Unconditional love is just how it sounds: love without conditions.
Love without conditions is love without limits. The only things that limit us are the mistaken identifications we allow to continue unquestioned. To the degree that you acknowledge and release the ways in which you mistakenly identify with impermanent and unreal phenomena, the love radiating within you becomes more obvious and clear to you.
All of this means paying attention. Keeping as much attention within yourself as you have going outward throughout the day. Noticing the way you react, expect, desire, fear, reject, and so on. Not judging, interpreting, or analyzing. Just noticing.
A book on all of this that I found very informative and helpful is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Also read some of the poetry by saints such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Ramprasad Sen. They taught me much about the real dimension of love beyond the romance and the fuzzy feelings we typically assume it to be.
Namaste sis :) Much love. May you be blessed by your own Heart.