Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
Article ID: 15606
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, MS, Shamanic Practitioner [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 26th. 2014
Times Viewed: 2,957
What IS Love?
Throughout human history, this has been one of the most talked about definitions, from poets, philosophers, clergy, psychologists, coaches, and just plain folk. How can a word that is utilized so often in human society have so many definitions? Just a cursory look through the Internet we find thousands of definitions. Here are just a few.
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like) : Would you like to see a movie, love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. a warm relationship with another individual or deity
Notice, that each of these definitions speaks of the same word and yet have very different meanings.
In my work as a Spiritual Counselor, I see that while many individuals seem to be seeking love, yet when asked to define it, have difficulty. We can see from above that it can be simply sex, or a “profoundly tender affection”. I contend that all these definitions are great but are missing the cornerstone or root of love. Each of these are directed outward.
What about “self-love”? Go ahead; write your own definition of Love. Find 4 keywords that encompass Love for you. Here is my own definition:
a. Knowledge = knowing everything I can about another individual, their feelings, strengths, weaknesses, habits.
b. Wisdom = Being able to speak with another individual and the limits they themselves have placed upon relationships.
c. Understanding = A knowingness of another person, being of like mind, acceptance.
d. Comfort = Being able to be in the presence of another without speaking, just being around them is OK.
To sum these up: Love is a relationship.
As you can see, these four words create a framework that I call love. I searched for many years, trying on different meanings for love. At first, like many people, I searched for the One person that fit my OWN definition. At the time, the definition was significantly different than it is now. I was looking for someone to "complete" me. To be my OTHER half. In my world, this meant that this person would be all I was not. It was a negative definition not a positive one. I looked at all that I was missing in my own perception of myself and then I was looking for a person who had many of the qualities I admired but felt I could not have for myself. This was a DISASTER. Why would someone want to love me when all I was looking for was an Ms or Mr. to fix me?
As I grew and searched and worked on myself, I came to the realization that if I do not love the person I am, how can I love or be loved? I began a long and arduous work on myself to come to terms with everything that I did not like about myself and then decided that I was not so bad and was worthy of love. This is how I came to the four little words above. Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding and Comfort for me . No one was going to give me anything that I had not already granted myself.
It was not easy, it took a long time to develop and work on those aspects of myself that I felt was holding me back from loving myself. Each time I found a piece of myself, I embraced it, integrated it and allowed it to be part of me. After many mistakes, I realized that I had what I always desired - within ME. I came to love myself and within a short period of time my life partner found me. We are still together today; in fact she is my co-founder of our Pagan Church and my High Priestess. People look at us and see the love, balance, and harmony energetically that we are when together. We do not even have to be in the presence of each other; people know that we are together. We do not hang on each other; we accept and respect each other as we respect ourselves.
Many individuals have difficulty with being able to demonstrate love. I contend that these individuals have an issue with SELF Love. If one does not love oneself, then one cannot love another. Love of self is NOT narcissism, nor is it self-deception, nor is it egocentricity. It is one of the most important characteristics of a healthy, well adjusted (as self defined) , life. In my course, ” The Warrior Within”, we discuss the nature of the three bodies: Higher, Emotional/Logical, and Physical. When each of these bodies works in tandem in a cooperative manner, they bring about a satisfied, content individual.
Furthermore, I contend that everyone already loves himself or herself to some degree. Using the keywords above for the most part, satisfied, loving individuals could truthfully say that with respect to the four statements above, they are ok with themselves. This is the root of everything, with regards to love. If an individual has difficulty loving themselves, then they are only deluding themselves that they love another, whether it is a Higher Power, another individual, or even nature.
Try an experiment. Look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? If you see things you do not like, go ahead COMMIT to CHANGE them. After all, you are in control of yourself. take the steps necessary. If you cannot think of what they are, contact someone, (hmm, shameful plug here – me) and get the help you need to love yourself. Once you love yourself, you can love another.
A word about sex. Sex, can be the physical manifestation of LOVE. In our current society, we have cheapened sex. The sexual/sensual relationship between individuals, whether they are same gendered or opposite gendered can be a beautiful manifestation of love. The “afterglow” of such sex can be one of the most beautiful things to experience.
Love itself is NOT just sex. All the religions of the world say that LOVE is the root of relationship with the chosen deity. I do not think that the deity wants to have sex with each of His/Her followers. A mother does not want to have sex with her child. Yet, there is LOVE.
Find your definition. Love yourself, and you will find that your relationship with the Divine, yourself, and others more enriched and fulfilling than anything else in this world.
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Alfred Willowhawk http://witerayvn.org
Alfred Willowhawk, DMsc, MS, Shamanic Practitioner
Location: West Plains, Missouri
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