My prayer for you is that you come to know the depth and breadth of the love I have for you. —Ephesians 3:16.
So much of our lives are spent trying to find love, earn love or be loved. And when we crash into someone that does not love us, we often feel beaten, bruised, rejected.
But what if what we’ve been looking for all these years and not finding was right there inside of ourselves all the time? What if what we are searching for dwells within each of us, and it’ s simply self-love?
When I experience a true love for myself, I am happy, centered, able to give more of myself to others without needing or wanting anything in return. And when others reject me, or abandon me, the pain does not consume me if I have a basic foundation of loving myself because I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin.
Maybe the answer to life is really just that simple: love. It sounds too modest even to say it, but isn’t that what all the great prophets have been telling us throughout the ages? Isn’t that what Jesus boiled everything down to: love your neighbor like you love yourself.
It’s hard for me to get my arms around that concept for some reason. Perhaps I got my wires crossed as I grew up thinking it was better to put others’ needs above our own and somewhere in the midst of that mixed message I threw my love for myself out the window. And now at middle age, I have to go back and re-learn the message, the message that loving oneself is the starting point of being fully human.
And it’s not loving oneself because of what we do, or how we look, or how much good we offer the world. Rather, it is just a simple knowing that at the heart of who I am, I am good; I love myself just as I am, where I am, here and now. Acceptance. Grounded in the wisdom of love for myself. Rooted in the truth that the greatest of all virtues, the tipping point for our personality, is love, love for myself.
Perhaps that is the quest of life, to spend the rest of our days learning to love ourselves, so that we can more fully love others.
Game Plan: What would it be like if you let go of the noisy critic inside your head that often puts you down and sometimes even despises you? Try replacing that critic with the voice of truth, which simply says, “I love you.”