You can only unconditionally love and accept others by first unconditionally loving and accepting yourself.
“You can only unconditionally love and accept others by first unconditionally loving and accepting yourself.” When I first heard this statement many years ago, I was sitting in my first holistic health class in which we were discussing the fundamental principles underlying spiritual healing. At that time, the words sounded strange to my logical mind, yet somehow resonated at a heart level. I was in my early twenties when I took this course and recall perceiving that I found it easy to love a lot of people, no matter how I felt about myself. I prided myself in thinking that I had spent a good part of my life helping others.
I had not thought that much about loving MYSELF.
Yet, this statement really opened my mind to the awareness that, up until that point, I had not thought that much about loving MYSELF. I was raised in a strong Germanic culture, and my parents had taught me to always put other people’s needs ahead of my own. Helping others was the first priority. Secondary to that was having a strong work ethic. “Fun” was something you had if there was any time after all your work was finished! I don’t recall any key figures in my childhood, or for that matter anyone up until that moment in class, ever mentioning the importance of loving and enjoying myself. In fact, in those days I was taught that it was downright selfish to put my personal needs and desires ahead of the physical and emotional needs of other people.
I was a “good” person when I put other people first.
My parents meant well – they were simply passing the emotional hand-me-down given to them from their parents. While their intentions were kind and honest, what I did not realize until that point, was that I had subconsciously incorporated these messages into a belief system that was based on the foundation that I was a “good” person when I put other people’s needs ahead of my own. I was a “selfish” person when I focused on addressing my own mental, emotional, and physical needs.
I thought I could fix other people.
As I committed myself to understanding the necessity of self love at a deeper level, the memories began to surface. I started to recognize that as I grew into a young adult, this belief system had mushroomed into my creating many painful memories and melodramas with the common theme of me playing the savior role. I was living under the illusion that I could fix situations for other people. Not surprisingly, I constantly attracted people who wanted me to “save” them or complete them. What I did not realize was that I was seeing a reflection of what I most needed to recognize within myself: I also wanted to be completed through others by wanting them to validate me for my savior role. This awareness opened the door to a crucial turn around in my life.
Self love is at the root of all spiritual healing.
Most people whom I have met in life have not been taught self love; they have learned it through the life experiences they have created. Self love, after all, is at the root of all issues of spiritual healing. Through my own life experiences, I came to fully understand that what I heard in class that day really was true. We have to first love ourselves in order to unconditionally love another.
Love and Light,