If you yearn to experience a happier, more peaceful life, begin by cultivating self-love. Perhaps at first self-love may seem like a reinforcement of your ego, or perhaps you dismiss it as a basic act of “self-care” along the lines of eating enough vegetables or getting proper sleep. But self-love is a profound expression of your true nature, and when you honour it, you become the healing our world so deeply needs.

Within each one of us, there is an unbroken tie to the universe, an unending tap that flows with love. But it is as though most of us are standing on the cosmic hose that is sending love our way, while we scratch our heads bewildered, wondering where all the love has gone. This leads to problems, because we are born to experience love. When we do not feel connected with love, we are prone to wanting: seeking love from people, places, and things outside of ourselves. Since wanting is based in a sense of disconnect, it leads to disconnected actions that are against Nature and ourselves. No matter how many steps we take to reduce our carbon footprint, our mental footprint on the planet remains heavy when we do not include ourselves in unconditional love. As such, for the sake of our inner peace and for the good of all, we need to look within at the ways in which we are blocking our capacity to feel love and to feel loved.

Self-love is different from self-confidence or having a strong self-esteem, though they can be related. We are self-confident when we feel certitude in our ability to discern or act. Self-esteem involves a quiet assurance in our place within the whole, a feeling of being a valuable and welcome part of the universe. Self-love involves the ability to treat ourselves with understanding, kindness, and gentle perseverance. Deeper still, self-love involves our ability to know that our true nature is love and that our human destiny is to embody that love and express it in all we do.

Some may associate self-love with being indulgent, narcissistic, or egotistical. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Self-love has no fascination with the notion of “me” or “mine”. Self-love is a sacred thing that honours our highest good and will not enable that which keeps us stuck in our small self. Self-love is humble and vibrant. As we come to sense and serve the universe within ourselves, we are able to sense, love and serve all that is. When we love ourselves, we can truly love others.

Self-love requires a paradigm shift, understanding ourselves as existing within a much greater whole, and feeling connected with that reality. When we allow ourselves to be wholly who we are, we embody the timeless and eternal. Far from being an indulgence, our deepest joy is our way into the realm of possibility, a guiding light into our true, infinite nature.

When we love ourselves, we look at life not as something happening to us, but as a reflection of who we are. We don’t feel separate from people, places and things, but see ourselves within the whole. We feel closer to, even a part of, everything. There is a gentle sense of containment or embrace at all times, no matter what. In this, we feel rooted, vital and expansive, able to participate in life and follow our true joy with openness and courage. We support ourselves and all beings living in interconnection, which is a core requirement for our collective survival.

There is no force “out there” in the universe that is separate from our true self. The will of the universe dances to the rhythm of love and is supported by joy. In essence, our joy is the universe’s joy. We are all beings of love. Let us remember our true nature, set ourselves free, and lighten our footprints on the planet.

Next week, I will share a guided visualization practice to help you cultivate and embody love. Between now and then, consider this with gentle self-honesty:
– Do I love myself?
– Do I live from a place of self-love?
– If not, am I willing to?
– In what ways do I act out a lack of self-love?
– In what ways will I change this now, for the sake of myself and all life?

From my heart to yours,
Parvati