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.
is similar to some destructive states. Some people refuse to love
themselves because they do not differentiate between self-love and
these other states.
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
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).
Selfishness. Selfishness is synonymous with "greed." (Refer to
the chapter regarding greed.)
The benefits from
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Self-love allows us to understand ourselves and know
ourselves. We are not repressing anything from our own awareness.
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
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.
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
We can develop the various types of love toward ourselves. For
example, we can develop self-acceptance, patience, generosity,
forgiveness, self-respect, etc.
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.
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
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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