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What is self-love? It is love which is directed toward the various aspects of ourselves: our thoughts, emotions, feelings, actions, physical body, images, etc. This is not the emotion of "love"; it is the unconditional love which is defined in the chapter regarding love.

Self-love is similar to some destructive states. Some people refuse to love themselves because they do not differentiate between self-love and these other states.

  1. Vanity. Vanity is the belief that we deserve love on the basis of our fulfillment of ideals; for example, we believe that we should be loved because we are exceptionally intelligent or beautiful. Vanity is not self-love:
    • Vanity is based on conditions (e.g., our supposed fulfillment of an ideal). In contrast, love is unconditional.
    • Ideals are unattainable by humans. Thus, in order to believe that we have attained an ideal upon which we base our vanity, we must repress our awareness of the occasions when we do not attain the ideal; for example, we would deny or hate the pimple on our otherwise beautiful face. When we are in denial or hatred toward any aspect of ourselves, we are not loving ourselves.
  2. Narcissism. Narcissism is an obsession with ourselves, to the exclusion of other people -- both their needs, and their gifts which they want to share with us. Narcissism is not self-love:
    • Narcissism ignores the aspects of ourselves which are fulfilled only through interaction with other people -- giving to them, and receiving from them. If we love ourselves, we love the social aspects of ourselves, and so we reach out to people in a manner such that they will respond with the love which we require; we know that we must give love to get love. (If we give something other than love, we get something other than love.)
    • Narcissism is ineffective in nourishing the aspects of ourselves which are fulfilled only through self-love. There is a type of nourishment which comes only from ourselves to ourselves. But narcissism is mere infatuation; it does not nourish us, and so we spend an inordinate amount of time with a focus on ourselves, in a futile attempt to satisfy ourselves with this infatuation. In contrast, if we have self-love, we do achieve the satisfaction, and then we can turn our attention to other aspects of our lives (including other people).
  3. Selfishness. Selfishness is synonymous with "greed." (Refer to the chapter regarding greed.)

The benefits from self-love.  

  1. Self-love increases our ability to love other people. This phenomenon occurs because we are loving the archetypes which are common to all of us. For example, if we love ourselves in an archetypal situation in which we are assertive, we tend to love other people when they are assertive. We do this because the mind observes the archetypal assertiveness, and then it plots its response by examining our archetypal-field elements which are associated with that archetype. (Those archetypal-field elements are the thoughts, images, energy tones, and physical habits which we have generated in previous encounters with that archetype.) This process does not consider who is being assertive, and so the same standards are automatically applied to ourselves and to other people. However, after that automatic process has concluded, we are able to intervene (consciously or unconsciously) with a hypocritical "double standard" whereby we repress our awareness of our acceptance of assertiveness while we condemn someone else's assertiveness.
  2. Self-love increases the amount of love which we receive.
    • People are more likely to offer love. This phenomenon is due to various reasons:
      • We are more loving toward them, because we accept and love the archetypal traits which are common to us all. Naturally, they tend to respond to our love with their own love.
      • People intuitively perceive the elements of our archetypal fields. Through our self-love, our archetypal fields have been implanted with the thoughts, images, energy tones, and physical habits which are associated with the idea that "I am a person who is to be loved." When people are deciding how they will respond to us, part of their decision is based on their perception of our own expectations (as suggested by our archetypal-field elements); thus, they tend to love a person who expects to be loved.
    • We enhance our ability to receive love. Our self-love is a confirmation that we are lovable; therefore, we eagerly recognize and accept the love which is offered to us. If we lack self-love, we reject other people's love, because we do not recognize it, or we feel that we are not worthy of it.
  3. Self-love feels good. Pleasure and happiness are our subjective experience of the flow of spiritual life-substance from one thing to another. As we love ourselves, that life-substance "circulates" within us.
  4. Self-love allows us to understand ourselves and know ourselves. We are not repressing anything from our own awareness.

Techniques for developing self-love.

  1. Archetypal field-work.
    • Self-talk. "I love myself." "I feel good when I love myself." "Loving myself helps me to love other people."
    • Directed imagination. We can visualize ourselves being kind to ourselves.
    • Energy toning. We can generate energy tones of contentment, satisfaction, happiness, etc., while we view the various aspects of ourselves.
    • The "as if" principle. We can act as if we love ourselves.
  2. Intuition. Intuition can tell us how to express our self-love; for example, it might tell us that we are working too hard, and that we need to comfort ourselves with some relaxation and recreation.
  3. We can develop the various types of love toward ourselves. For example, we can develop self-acceptance, patience, generosity, forgiveness, self-respect, etc.
  4. We can love ourselves with regard to our physical needs. For example, we can get proper medical care, and we can attend to our physical fitness, etc.
  5. We can become more aware of the occasions when love is offered to us. Every time we recognize that someone is loving us, we confirm the idea that we are lovable. (However, self-love is unconditional; we can love ourselves even when other people do not love us.)
  6. We eliminate shame. Shame is the belief that there is something innately wrong and undeserving in us. If we are experiencing shame, we cannot love ourselves, nor can we allow other people to love us.


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