It is difficult to give to others what one does not give to oneself. Intelligent, authentic self-love is one of the most crying needs of our culture. For so long we were told to love our neighbour, but the ‘as yourself’ part was usually omitted, yet it is the most important. The following exercise is one way to help you achieve this beautiful goal:
Ask yourself: Am I ready to really love myself unconditionally (that last word is very strong)? One way of checking this is the mirror exercise. Stand (or sit) in front of a mirror, and, looking yourself in the eyes, say out loud: ‘I accept myself entirely, I respect myself totally, I love myself unconditionally exactly as I am’. Do this exercise daily, first for a few minutes, then increasing the time span. Some people experience great resistance to this exercise, and they are probably the ones who would get the most out of it. Little by little, the voice of the inner judge or parrot will calm down and finally disappear, and you will be able to accept yourself in the radiant, glorious beauty of your true being.
We are not on earth to live by the norms of other people. The great Shakespeare expressed it so clearly: ‘To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou can’st not then be false to any man’. We are here to live joyfully, share compassion and express unconditional love and gratitude, which is the essence of our being. When our bodies leave this little planet, the only thing we will take with us will be our ability to love. All the rest – relations, bank account, material possessions of any kind, prestige and reputation… all that is peanuts, compared to the real thing.
So what do we want: peanuts or true substance, following others’ norms, or our highest sense of right? The choice is ours!