If the development of personal power is the first golden key to psychological and spiritual health, then unconditional self-love is most definitely the second golden key.
Personal power and self-love are the building blocks of a healthy self concept and self image. The most important relationship in a person’s life is his relationship to himself. If we are wrong with ourselves, we will be wrong with all other relationships. If we are off center in ourselves, how can we be on center with others?
Self-love begins with the understanding that there are two types of love in the world. They are conditional love and unconditional love. Conditional love is egotistical love. Unconditional love is spiritual love. This type of love applies to others, but more importantly first applies to ourselves.
The first key question we each must ask ourselves is whether we love ourselves conditionally or unconditionally. Unconditional self-love is based on the understanding that we have worth and we are lovable because God created us. We are sons and daughters of God. God doesn’t make junk. Of course we have worth. If we don’t have worth then God doesn’t have worth. In other words, our worth and lovableness is a spiritual inheritance.
If you don’t believe this, then your ego steps in and says, “I have a different interpretation.” The ego says your worth and lovableness are based on meeting certain conditions. You have to have a certain kind of physical body. You have to go to college, have money, have a high paying job, be in a certain social status, be perfect, be spiritual, meditate, exercise, have a relationship, get good grades, be successful, and so on.
Now a lot of these things are very noble things to strive for and I recommend that you continue to do so. However, they have nothing to do with your self-love and self-worth.
Your self-love and self-worth come from who you are, not what you do. There are no conditions you have to meet. You can do everything in your life right or everything in your life wrong, and your worth and lovableness are the same. This cannot be emphasized more emphatically.
A good metaphor for understanding this is to imagine that you just had a baby. Does this baby have to do anything to have worth or value? Does it have to look a certain way? Isn’t there just an inherent value in the spark of life? Of course, your baby is of value and lovable. Don’t you continue to love that child as it grows older, even if it gets into trouble or fails the first grade spelling test?
The point I am now coming to is that there is a difference between the soul that is that child and the child’s behavior. The soul is always lovable and worthy. The behavior may not always be so. This is an extremely important discrimination to make with others and with yourself.
Taking this analogy a step farther, we are God’s children. God gave birth to us. Don’t you think He loves us as you would love your child? And don’t you think He continues to love us even though we make mistakes in the spiritual school called Earth life?
So the question is: At what age does a child lose its inherent value? We all seem to have it up to a certain age. It is quite ludicrous if you think about it. God loves us even though our behavior is often bad. Certainly He would prefer we got it together, but He loves us even if we don’t.
Another facet of self-love that has been brought out here is that we need to love ourselves as God loves us unconditionally! Jesus said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” You will notice he didn’t say to love your neighbor and hate yourself.
You can determine where you are on your spiritual path by seeing how much you love your neighbor and how much you are loving yourself. We also need to learn to allow ourselves to feel God’s love. God’s love is like the sun. It is always shining. It is just a matter of whether we are going to give ourselves permission to receive it.
One of my favorite metaphors is that we are diamonds with mud on us. God created us so we are diamonds. Our faulty egotistical negative thinking has put mud on us. I am trying to get out the hose and wash off the illusions of faulty thinking and show you the “real you”. Your true identity is the Christ, the perfect creation of God. It is only the ego’s false, negative, pessimistic interpretation of you that makes you feel unworthy or unlovable.
Earth is a school. Our mistakes are not held against us. There are no such things as sins. There are only mistakes. Some believe that a sin is like some stain on our character that cannot be removed. This is absurd. Mistakes are positive. Did you fully hear and get that? Mistakes are positive! You don’t go out of your way to make them. But if they happen, you learn from them.
Every mistake is a blessing in disguise because there is always a golden nugget of wisdom to be learned. We learn the easy way or by the school of hard knocks. We are in this school to know ourselves and, hence, know God. God’s universe is governed by laws. There are physical laws, psychological laws and spiritual laws. We learn by making mistakes and then making adjustments.
The spiritual path up the mountain is five steps forward and four backward; seven forward then six backward. Don’t buy into the ego’s game of creating this impossible perfectionistic standard where mistakes are unacceptable. The spirit believes in striving for perfection but looks at mistakes as positive and unavoidable.
Life as a Dream
When we go to sleep at night and have a nightmare, we wake up and say to ourselves, “Boy, am I glad that was just a dream; it seemed so real while I was sleeping!” Well, that is what I am saying to you right now. Wake up from that bad dream or negative hypnosis you have been experiencing. Snap out of it!
Wake up! Let the mud fall off your diamond and see who you really are. You are the most valuable precious thing in all creation. Do you think God loves a rock or tree more than His own children who are made in His image?
Now comes the key to the whole process. Your thoughts create your reality. Your thoughts don’t create truth. They just create the reality of the people who are thinking them. In other words, if you think you are unworthy, then you are going to live in the nightmare and self created hell of your own thought creation.
You will live in your own bad dream and nightmare, even though it really isn’t true. You are what you think. The great need is to push these false unworthy and unlovable attitudes out of your mind and to start affirming the truth about yourself. By doing this you will re-record a new message into your subconscious tape recorder.
Another aspect of self-love is what I call the selfish¬ selfless balance. This means there is a time to be selfish and there is a time to be selfless. To be selfless is to direct your energies to helping others. To be selfish is to take care of yourself. The spiritual path is the path of balance. We are not here to be martyrs. We must learn to be spiritually selfish.
Many very sincere and good spiritual people misunderstand this. I am not saying you shouldn’t help others. The greatest among you is the servant of all. I am just saying that you have to take care of yourself also. You are a part of God. You are a son or daughter of God.
Not to be spiritually selfish at times is to reject a part of God. If you are too selfless you will probably be resentful. The great lesson is that when you are selfish don’t feel guilty, and when you are selfless, give and don’t feel resentful. Be decisive in whatever decision you make.
Developing an Understanding of the Inner Child
The second major understanding in obtaining unconditional self-love deals with the understanding of the inner child. We all have a relationship to ourselves. I have called this, at times, a right relationship to self. What is this self I am talking about? Another name for this self is the inner child or inner self. In other words, we each parent ourselves.
I am suggesting that there are two ways of parenting ourselves or a real external child. There is a spiritual way of parenting or an egotistical way or parenting. The spiritual way of parenting is to be firm but loving (yin and yang balanced).
The wrong way to parent is to be too firm or too permissive and spoiling. A parent who is too firm is critical. When a parent is too critical this creates a child who is unworthy or deflated or who feels unloved. A too lenient parent creates a child who is spoiled or rebellious. A firm and loving parent creates a balanced, well adjusted child.
The first step in understanding this whole process is to look at how your parents raised you. Were they critical or firm and loving? It is very likely that you treat yourself the exact way your parents treated you. Now look at how you raised your children. And lastly look at how you are currently raising your own inner child
I want to make it clear that your inner child is a psychic reality. Learning to raise our inner child properly is one of the most important skills we can possibly learn. We will also be much better parents to our real children when we learn to parent ourselves properly.
What Do We Do If Our Parenting Skills Need Improvement?
When we are being too critical and judgmental with ourselves, what is really happening is “child abuse”. I am sure that, if you saw child abuse occurring at the market or a neighbor’s house you would step in and say something to stop it. What would you do if someone was abusing your children when they were younger? I am sure you would respond like a mother or father bear to protect your child. Well, that is what you need to start doing with your inner child.
The critical parent is like an evil baby sitter, with whom you have unwittingly left your child. Now you are returning (waking up) to reclaim your child as your own. Your child needs protection and you need to start giving your child the protection he or she needs.
What this means psychologically is that when the critical parent attitudes start whipping and beating your inner child, stop them! It doesn’t matter what you say. Put up your protective bubble and shield and say, “The buck stops here. I am not going to let my little child get beaten or abused any longer. I am going to protect him. I love my inner child and will not let my inner child continue to be hurt or beaten.”
When the over indulgent parent steps in and wants to be permissive, you do the same thing. You say, “No”. You say, “I am sick of this extremism. I don’t want to be too yin or too yang. I want balance. Get out!” You push the permissive parent thought out of your mind.
The second step after pushing the critical or permissive parent out of your mind is to affirm that you are going to be firm and loving toward yourself from now on. By continually doing this the critical or permissive parent will die from lack of attention and focus, and the firm and loving parent style will develop from attention and focus. It will take practice and constant vigilance. Just remember that if you choose to forget this, you are allowing child abuse to take place in your own mental home. Do you want to allow your inner child to be whipped and beaten or spoiled rotten?
What also must be considered here is that if improper parenting has taken place, then the inner child is going to be in need of healing just as a real child would be after being abused. The inner child who has had a critical parent is going to need a lot of extra love and nurturing. The inner child who has had a permissive spoiling parent is going to need “tough love”. A child who is acting out in real life needs to be sat on a little bit, not in a critical way but in a tough love way.
The child has had more power than the parent. This needs to change. The parent is in charge, and the inner child needs to be told this. You may have to get real tough in the beginning to get the point across, just as you would with a real child. The inner child will get the message if he sees that you mean business. The inner child doesn’t really like being out of control anyway.
Your inner child desperately wants your unconditional love just as a real child does. Down deep, your inner child wants firmness and limits just as a real child does. If you are firm and loving then your inner and outer child will develop and internalize this to develop firmness, self control, personal power, and self-love within themselves.
A very valuable and helpful tool in developing the proper relationships and psycho dynamics here is to dialogue with these different parts in your journal. Talk to your inner child and see how they are feeling. Then let the inner child talk back as you imagine they would respond. Dialogue with the critical and with the permissive parent, then with the firm and loving parent. Get more deeply in touch with how these dynamics are operating within you. You might even add your Higher Self into the dialogue and see what it has to add to the whole process.
There is a very interesting point about that last suggestion. The Huna teachings from Hawaii call the Higher Self the “utterly trustworthy parental self. I find that fascinating. In other words, we need to learn to parent ourselves as our Higher Selves parent us. Don’t our Higher Selves parent us with firmness and love, tough love?
This next suggestion is absolutely essential for fully stabilizing self-love and self-worth. So far we have talked about self-love on the essence level, the essence level being that we have worth and love because we are sons and daughters of God.
There is also a form level. In other words, we also need to feel good about what we are doing and creating in our lives. The critical parent spends all of its time being a perfectionist in a negative sense, looking for what we are doing wrong. In a given day you may be doing things ninety eight percent well, but the critical parent will spend the entire day focusing on the two percent you are doing wrong. This doesn’t make sense.
Proportionately you should be ninety eight percent happy that day. Is the glass of water half empty or half full? The purpose of the victory log is to look at what you are doing well, not at what you are doing poorly.
There are two steps to developing a proper victory log. The first step is to go over your entire life with a fine toothed comb and list all things that you have done well in your life. List all your fine attributes and qualities. List everything, no matter how minute. By doing this you will automatically feel good about yourself. Your perspective has changed. You are seeing things the way your Higher Self would have you see them.
The second step in the victory log is, every night before bed and every morning, add to the list and review the victories of that day and that week. By doing this you are giving yourself and your inner child strokes, “credit”, a positive reinforcement, love, psychological hugs and kisses. Tell the inner child how much you appreciate their cooperation and teamwork. You might tell your Higher Self the same thing. Together you are an unbeatable team.
What Do You Do When You Make Big Mistakes?
When you do make big mistakes, keep the critical parent out. It is okay to make observations about yourself or others. This is also called spiritual discernment or discrimination. It is called this because it is done in unconditional love. Whatever the mistake is, gain the golden nugget of wisdom from the experience and it then becomes a positive experience. If you truly learn from this “mistake” you will never have to go through a similar suffering ever again. Tell yourself that you are worthy and lovable even though you made a mistake or error in judgment. Tell yourself that mistakes are positive and unavoidable. Pick yourself up and get on with it.
A crucial part of self-love is forgiveness. You have a choice whether to subscribe to a philosophy of forgiveness or holding grudges. This applies to yourself also. Remember if you hold grudges, you are holding it against the inner child. Would you hold the same kind of grudge against your real child when he was little? If you want to be forgiven by God, don’t you think it is necessary to give the same energy back in return to your self and others?
What Happens To People Who Don’t Have Self-love?
If you don’t have unconditional self-love within yourself, then automatically you end up seeking it outside of self. Love is a survival need. Children have actually been known to die in institutions from lack of love.
The ideal is to give love to yourself and to allow yourself to receive God’s unchanging unconditional love. If you don’t do this then you end up seeking love, approval, acceptance from other people. This puts you in a compromised position. Other people become your computer programmers and the cause of your reality. Your worth is in their hands and control. Do you really want other people to hold this power and control over you? Not having self-love puts a hole in your protective bubble so that when people criticize you, you can’t protect yourself.
The ideal is to give yourself so much love, and to allow yourself to feel God’s full Love, that you go into life feeling totally powerful and totally loved before you meet another human being. You are ideally feeling full, whole and complete within yourself, and feeling your oneness with God.
You are so filled with love that you can give love to others even if they don’t love you. In essence, you want love; you don’t need love. You prefer love; you are not attached and addicted to getting love. The attitude of a more self actualized person is to form a right relationship to yourself and a right relationship to God first.
These are the two most important relationships in your life. You then can move into life as a whole, causal, masterful, independent person; a person who is in the world to give rather than needing to get, to fill an empty void within the self. This is the work of the spiritual path.
We actually have it all right now. The only problem is that we think we don’t. We live in the nightmare of self inflicted limitations that isn’t even real. We can get rid of these limitations any time we want by owning our power and taking command over our minds by the denial and affirming process. (See Self-love Affirmations and Visualization)
Recognize that you have both a child and a parent self within you. It is important to realize, however, that even though everyone has to deal with these psychological dynamics, the real you is neither the parent nor the child. The real you is “consciousness” or “I” that is choosing what kind of parent and what kind of child dynamic you are creating within yourself.
The real you is the observer self, who is the controller, director, chooser and causer. The key to being the causer is the understanding of the need to be disidentified from the content of consciousness. You are not your thoughts, feelings, emotions, body, behavior, actions, personality, mistakes, successes, abilities, past, future, beliefs nor any of the content of consciousness.
You are the essence and not the form. You are the consciousness, not the creation. You can direct and control only that from which you are disidentified. That with which you, as the consciousness or “I” are identified, will be your master. In living in this world we must deal with form. This is why it is essential that you choose and cause the form of what kind of parent you are going to be to yourself.
Do a visualization, putting all the things you have thought were you (the content of consciousness) into a big metal pot that is now in the middle of your nature scene. Put everything in it until you are naked of all mental, emotional or physical form. All that is left is a center of pure awareness with nothing in it. Practice taking qualities, attitudes, feelings, beliefs, abilities, and non abilities and trying them on and then throwing them back in the pot. Practice identifying, then disidentifying. Practice being the controller, causer and creator of your life, like you would in a play or theater. Always remember what your real Self is and who and what you are.
The Source of this article is: http://iamuniversity.org/unconditional-self-love-and-the-inner-child/
Check out also this related articles!! https://edithboyertelmer.com/2015/02/08/30-ways-to-practice-self-love-and-be-good-to-yourself/, https://edithboyertelmer.com/2014/12/29/forgiveness-a-forward-movement-for-2015/