It’s become so cliché to talk about self-love. Is it really true that learning to love yourself is necessary if you want to experience a healthy relationship with someone else? To answer this question, we need to understand the problems that arise when self-love is lacking.
We are born as innocent children filled with perfect love. Then we are indoctrinated into a thought system that tells us we need to “be good” to get love. Even in a so-called normal, healthy childhood, love is withheld from children as a punishment when they don’t behave as parents and teachers command. Likewise, loving gestures are sometimes showered upon us as a reward when we do. The world’s lesson all throughout life is this: love is something you get from another person when you behave in such a way that you are “worthy” of it. This is how we are indoctrinated, controlled, domesticated.
We have learned to think about love in such a way that all the focus is on getting it and little attention is paid to what love is and what love does. We are taught to believe that we are guilty sinners, screw-ups, not attractive enough, too young, too old, too poor, too this or too that. In the world’s ongoing competition of egos—this never-ending game of who’s right and who’s better—we learn to really loath ourselves by believing the stories others tell us about ourselves and also the insane stories we tell ourselves.
Now imagine you start a relationship with this thought system. In this kind of relationship, you withhold your true self and expect to be rewarded with love. When this invariably fails, you feel disappointed and resentful. Feeling trapped in a relationship is caused by changing yourself for the purpose of getting love.
Now, realize that both you and your partner are behaving in the same way—saying and doing that which isn’t exactly honest and expecting love in return. After so much sacrifice, you both naturally expect grand gestures and rewards. You expect to feel loved when all you really feel is an addiction to the person who also sacrifices so much for you and occasionally does things right. But the arrangement doesn’t really work. That perfect love you felt in the beginning of the relationship fades. So, you blame the other person and argue relentlessly.
If the feeling of perfect love is lacking, it is never the other person’s fault. The problem is, you’re looking for love from the other person. First, you must look within. Awakening to self-love means forgiving yourself—seeing yourself as not guilty and accepting yourself as you are. There is goodness and perfection within you. There is limitless love within you that you would so happily share with others if they were only open. You have loved many people so perfectly in your life and this is who you are. Those times which you did or said something not loving—yes, it was an error. This is what we are correcting. Purification is needed if we wish to heal, and self-love is purification.
Spend some time lying down in a room without any noise or distractions. Try to find that feeling of love in your heart. Imagine yourself as that perfect, innocent child who knew exactly what love is. Forgive yourself for all that other garbage. None of it is real. What is real is that love in your heart. Now, the details about you and your life don't matter. You can be honest and open about who you really are and what you truly want without shame. If someone judges you, that person simply isn't a fit. Love them anyway, let them respond how they may. No matter who you are, you have the right to be you and you can do so honestly.
Naturally, you want to share this joyful bliss with another person. You want that person to love you, to accept the real you—to love you so much that you don’t even have to work for it. Self-love doesn’t mean not needing another person. Love must be shared. That’s what love is and what it does. But it can only be shared when you extend it from within and outward to others. Your goal is to feel your perfect love fill your body with its energy—turn perfect love on yourself—then let it flow freely to anyone and everyone with no consideration or judgment. Withholding love from yourself or from anyone is being blocked. Healing is unblocking yourself and healing is total or it isn't healing. No more pain and suffering. No more physical illness. No more fear. Perfect love and honesty overcome every challenge.
Now, if you can find another person who also remembers what love is and knows how to live in such a way that it is unblocked; you will experience heaven. You will find yourself in a situation where you can be exactly who you are. You can love that person freely as well as everyone else in the world. You allow each other freedom and place no rules upon each other.
Love must be unconditional, indeed, or it isn’t love (only an arrangement). Are you afraid you’ll lose that person? You want the relationship to last your entire life? Of course you do! That is the most wonderful thing and everyone wants to grow old alongside the perfect partner—but the price need not be the sacrifice of everything. You can have it all!
When two people come together in perfect, self-love and offer it to each other unconditionally, then they will never part. Of course, the form of each relationship varies. If you fit perfectly, you may choose to live together. If not, you may enjoy your loving connecting from more of a distance. It is all a question of fit. What do you both want your life to be? Do you want children or not? What is your attitude about money, travel, sex, etc.? If there is a perfect fit, go for it—but make no attempt to then protect that relationship via the rules of traditional structures like marriage. If you do, the suffering will return and the perfect love will fade.
This relationship is entirely possible and very easy. I have been in such a relationship for many years and it is far superior to what is normal in this world. You can experience it as well, but you will never find relationship bliss unless you learn to first love yourself unconditionally.
Learn the thought system of love. Read my free eBook Belove or read Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. Watch my indie documentary film called Treetops. Listen to my podcast on this topic a while ago. Whatever path you choose, learn to undo fear and all the negative emotions that have been blocking your self-love. This is very real and is in no way theoretical. Self-love is what you do want and, if you decide for it, nothing can stop you from experiencing what is already yours.