'If you can't love yourself, how can you love anyone else?' I was raised Christian & so, am quite familiar with one of the first of the so-called 'Ten Words', or 'Ten Commandments'; 'Love your neighbor as yourself'. Simple, right? But isn't that the main problem?! Usually, because we DO love our neighbor as ourselves, even though we may say we love them, even feel ( intermittently ) that we love them, we only really love them as much as we love ourselves, which often isn't much, if indeed we don't actually hate ourselves. When this is the case; guess what happens to 'Love your neighbor'?!
Words not only have meaning, they have Great Power; the Power to Create & the Power to Destroy, the Power to Harm & the Power to Heal! Recently, I wrote a blogpost based on the old axiom, 'Sticks & Stones may break my bones, but Words can never hurt me'. While this Truth appears to be Self-Evident, as we discovered, these Words are not necessarily True! Growing up Christian, as I did, we were taught that, as physical beings, mere words could not harm us, unless, of course, we're talking about being 'butt-hurt', ie, having our feelings hurt. Experience, however, teaches us that Words can indeed cause physical harm. What we feel on the inside because of another's careless ( or vengeful ) Word usually manifests, sooner or later, outwardly, or in our physiology. This is to say nothing of the physical harm that can occur to us when we're careless ( or vengeful ) with our Word!
The Power of the Word not only affects others, It affects us as well! We might spitefully cause ham to another with our Word, but when we do, it's usually because we've already done much damage to ourselves through the misuse of the Power of the Word. The three major religions of the world have taught us to hate ourselves! Beginning from early on, the Power of the Word has been misused to teach us that we are not as we should be; not only that, but we must agree that our only salvation is outside of us, that only by placing our faith in some omnipotent being can we have any hope of obtaining the perfection we were created with. Since then, the majority of people that were taught thusly have castigated themselves to the point where they believe it themselves & no longer need anyone to convince them of their own unworthiness.
It is our Agreement that is at fault! Both with our self-loathing & the harm which stems from it, when we agree with those who tell us that we are unworthy ( of love, forgiveness, acceptance, etc ) we do harm to ourselves through the Power of our own Word. Because we are continually reminded of our own disabilities, we begin to believe it ourselves; thus the process of our own self-destruction, which was already well underway, takes on a life of its own. Rather than believing what everyone else says about Who & What we are, we must discern that Truth for ourselves; then & only then, will we truly be able to love our neighbor, for then, we will have learned to love ourselves!
It's only natural, especially in this day & age ( need I say, 'this culture'? ) to blame everyone but oneself for our problems. 'He/She really knows how to push my buttons', 'Look what YOU made me do!' are just a couple of the ways which we use to divert the blame from where it really lies; with US! I say 'natural', not in the biblical sense, whereas most Christians would blame it on humankind's 'sin' or 'fallen nature', but in the egoic, human sense, in that the Ego does not like to admit when It's wrong. Speaking of agreement; when we agree with our Ego that it can't be OUR fault, we end up on the wrong side of the Law ( of Love )!
Learning to love ourselves is where True, or Unconditional Love MUST begin! Unconditional Love, by definition, means ( to me, anyway ) Love that is not conditional, in Essence, that Love is not dependent on certain feelings or actions, but is simply there, Present. For instance, a father or mother does not love their child only when the child loves them back, or does what they want. They love their child unconditionally, in the sense that, whether the child obeys them or loves them back, they will love their child, simply because he or she is their child. In some sense, one might insist that this is conditional on the child being theirs, but 'Really'!?
Some might question, at this juncture, 'is it even possible, then, for a human being to love unconditionally?!' You must be the Judge in this matter, but as far as I'm concerned, the true love we see every day, whether it be acts of compassion, the enigmatic affinity between total strangers, or the love of a mother for her child comes the closest to unconditional love on this earthly plane of existence!
Simply saying those three little words, 'I love you', though it is good & well to remind people every once in awhile, will have its effect, for sure, though, if not followed by the corresponding actions, will not have the desired effect, but rather, an adverse one! While hearing the Word may make them feel all warm & fuzzy inside, the feeling will not last & in fact, will quickly dissipate, especially if ones actions contradict that Word.
In order to love unconditionally, it is necessary to realize that we are More than our Biology, More than Human, for that matter! You've read this on my blog before, but seriously, It cannot be stressed enough, the gloriously freeing fact that We are not simply human beings who live once, die once, then go to one of two places ( for Eternity? ). Our Consciousness, our very Being, extends Beyond this Biology ( even this dimension ). Being More than Human, then, We bear the Greater Responsibility to show forth in this Biology that We ARE More than Human, Greater than this Biology, much as the biblical Israel was tasked with having the dominion, or ascendancy, over those who were acting as mere human beings, even 'animals'.
( Speaking of 'animals'; while they definitely have a 'wild' side; observing them in their natural environment often shows us a greater example, or definition of true love than many humans seem capable of exhibiting. Also, ask pretty much any pet 'owner' about the unconditional love of 'their' pet! )
True Love IS unconditional, for a very simple reason; It is the Essence of US! Our Being is not conditioned upon anything; We just ARE. I AM, of course, speaking of our Spiritual, or True Nature, NOT our humanity, for our humanity IS based on conditions; if certain conditions ( food, water, sleep, etc ) are not met, our body, along with our humanity, will perish. However, our Spirit, our very Being, is not conditioned upon anything, but like the Energetic Force from which we came, we simply ARE. ( I realize I just repeated myself, but it bears repeating ) 'As above, so below', however; as we are 'top down' individuals, if We are led by the Spirit ( rather than the Ego ), Love WILL win the day!
Namaste' & Blessed Be,