When I was a little girl of about three or four years old, I asked my mother if she loved me. My mother thought that it was such a funny question that sometimes she would even wait to respond. If she didn’t respond right away I would say, “Mommy, if you don’t love me, then I love myself.” And I’d give myself a big hug exclaiming, “I love myself!”
This tickled my mother. She said from that point forward, she knew I would always be OK.
That expression of self-love has been a personal journey for me and has allowed me to be deeply connected to my spiritual practice. One of the things I encourage you to focus on in your meditation practice is the practice of self-love because, without it, you cannot truly prosper.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We berate ourselves for not being good enough, or for not meditating long enough. We get upset when we sit down to meditate and can’t slow our minds down.
As a result, we sometimes view mediation as a challenging practice, which doesn’t allow us to blossom and flower. The key to your meditation practice and the key to life, in my opinion, is developing that sense of self-love. This may even be a lifelong journey for some. Taking time for self-care is one of the most important things you can do to start loving yourself today, whether that means getting a massage or going to a yoga class.
If you want to receive love, then you must first love yourself, unconditionally and completely. No one can give you love if you don’t feel it within yourself. That is what the practice of meditation helps us to understand.
Become Aware of Your Self-Talk
How do you talk to yourself? Are you mean or open and friendly? Do you feel kind and generous or angry and hateful? In the end, it matters. You matter and how you talk to yourself matters.
Becoming aware of your self-talk is the first step towards developing self-love. When you truly love yourself, you get to know yourself on a deeper level. You speak to yourself in a kind way. You also become much more aware of your true needs and desires.
We all have the need to be seen and to be loved. We want people to acknowledge us and recognize our gifts but we first need to acknowledge and recognize ourselves.
By cherishing and acknowledging our own beautiful energy, we become a greater conduit for love and attention towards others. The practice of meditation helps us value who we truly are.
When we take the time to trust and validate our own self-worth, we start developing that deep sense of inner trust and knowing. We value ourselves more as a result.
What Does it Mean to Really Love Yourself?
What does it mean to really love yourself? It’s a simple question but a challenging one. In my opinion, it means being willing to be honest with yourself and what you have to offer the world.
It also means becoming aware of the energy you put out and the energy you receive. This may mean setting boundaries or taking some of your energy back. It’s not selfish to set boundaries and love yourself.
Imagine what you could do in life if you loved yourself in every moment? So many things we do in life are centered around the idea of an unconscious need for validation and love. The good thing about self-love is the fact that it is already within you, it just needs to be nurtured and cultivated.
What is the Loving-Kindness Meditation Practice?
There is a practice of meditation known as Metta, that focuses on loving-kindness. It helps you connect to others in a beautiful way. The practice of loving-kindness is an active practice of compassion towards yourself and towards others.
This might mean sending love and compassion to someone you love, to someone who challenges you, to someone you don’t know well or even to someone you don’t particularly like. Sending loving kindness to someone who brings up a lot of negative energy for you can be challenging but also transformative.
The idea behind the Metta practice is the idea that each of us is interconnected in some way, shape or form. If someone you know challenges you or seems to be negative, then perhaps they are only bringing that quality up within you. Everyone is our mirror and it all starts with you.
You can only give to others that which you can truly give yourself. Some of us have been taught from an early age to give to others and take care of everyone else’s needs first. We are taught to please others before focusing on ourselves. We believe it is selfish to take care of your own needs first.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If we don’t accept ourselves and love ourselves first, then we have nothing to give others. It’s so important to look into the mirror and love yourself and accept yourself. When you do that, you acknowledge your own self-worth and self-love. It all starts with you.
The practice of loving-kindness is really about acceptance and unconditional love for ourselves. It’s about feeling generous and abundant. When you practice self-love you live life in the flow, which is not only transformative but liberating.
The Loving-Kindness Meditation
Metta meditation is actually very simple. It starts with the repetition of short phrases such as:
- May all beings be safe.
- May all beings be peaceful.
- May all beings be free.
- May all beings be happy.
- May all beings be loved.
These words act as a sort of prayer that really starts with self-love. If we can’t genuinely experience these things for ourselves, then we can’t truly offer them to others.
Metta meditation helps us realize the interconnectedness of all of life. This also comes back to self-love. If we can’t honor ourselves and adore ourselves and love ourselves, we cannot give that to others.
Self-love is a vibration, it’s an energy. It allows you to sit in a sanctuary of peace and stillness when you sit down to meditate and reflect.
Meditation is a wonderful place to be – it’s one of the strongest acts of self-love you can do. It’s all about turning your attention from being outwardly focused to inwardly focused.
Raising your own self-awareness, and creating that sacred space for yourself is the best gift you can give yourself. When you sit down to meditate and drop into your body and into your own self-awareness, you not only connect with yourself, but you create a space to connect deeply with others.
In the end, the act of meditation helps you become the most real, authentic version of yourself you can possibly be. The practice of meditation is about being your true self. It all begins with true self-love.