Love is such a huge topic, I have already published my thoughts relating to love of others (for further reading see the post "Love...according to me") but I have not expressed my opinions on the most important love. Unconditional love of self...without this, we really do suffer.
One of the most important lessons I have encountered in being a healer and "training" to be a healer is that if I cannot love myself enough and I cannot look after my own needs, health and well being, then I cannot possibly be at my most effective and affective in my role as a healer.
Bottom line is, if I'm not well and happy in my role, I can't do it properly.
The word "unconditional" is a strong and powerful one also I think a word that creates some misunderstanding. Unconditional love does not mean that you allow people to treat you in whatever way they choose...it means you can love them DESPITE the way they act all the while firmly teaching them not to be that way towards you.
I don't really want to talk about love for others though...this is about unconditional love for self.
I have touched on this before when I talked about taking time out to be you and that wanting things for yourself is not egocentric or selfish, but I want to take that concept further.
While it is always necessary to be aware that our actions have an impact on those around us...it is actually not healthy to solely focus on the impact on others and neglect your own needs in the process.
Loving yourself enough to respect your own needs, wants, desires and outcomes actually opens you to loving others more completely. As a happy, whole and well being you are far more capable of loving actions towards others. You know this for truth if you only think about how much easier it is to smile when you feel happy yourself, or how easy it is to comfort someone who is hurting, if you are not hurting yourself. All the mothers of the world know for fact, a happy Mum leads to a happy baby! All these things are true, because in that moment, you looked after your own needs before anyone Else's, this made you more able to see to their needs.
When travelling on an aircraft and hearing the cabin crew give the safety address before take off, they always say, "place the oxygen mask over your own face before you assist others, even children." Love is just as essential an element as the oxygen!
I have a few ideas on how you can help yourself in this area, however, what it comes down to is being honest with yourself about your wants, needs, desires, flaws and attributes and making a decision to love yourself enough to work on and with those characteristics in an unconditional way.
TIPS TO TEACH YOURSELF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE:
1) Ask your friends to list all the wonderful things about you (they will maybe surprise you with the things they see in you that you had no idea were there) Keep the list in a safe place and in those moments when it is tough to focus on the great things about you, read the list and see yourself as others see you!
2) Look passed the physical. It is so easy to find things we don't like about our physical self (thank you mass media and social stereotypes) but everyone knows and understands beauty is not about looks, rather it is about actions. I have seen amazingly physically "beautiful" people who act in an appalling way, when I look at them, I no longer see beauty.
3) Write yourself some affirmations to post around your house or in your car, etc. Things like, "I love myself," "I am a confident and beautiful creature" "I love who I am without condition" etc (If you want to read how affective these can be...feel free to read the post on positive affirmation and manifestation).
4) When you make a mistake, imagine what you would tell a friend who had made the same mistake and then tell yourself that.
It's easy, using these four tips, to break through all your conditioning from childhood and beyond and release all those things that have stopped you loving yourself unconditionally.
The benefits are HUGE!!!!!!!!! Well worth a try, after all, what have you got to lose?