True Love
We hear so much talk about love, but where does it start? Not between a mother and a child. Not between two consenting adults. There are so many distortions in “love relationships,” the two parties may not even see each other accurately! Do we love whom we want the other to be, whom we first thought the other was, the projection of our idealized shadow, or our fantasy about the person who will always cherish us? Who is the loved one anyway?
True love always starts inside. What does it take for us to love ourselves? Not looking in the mirror, spouting self-adulatory phrases. Not indulging our whims. Not assuming airs. Loving ourselves starts with being present to ourselves in every uncomfortable moment. When we have acted in a way we now regret we say, “I am right here and I feel my shame and, still, I stay on my side.” When we are tempted to eat or drink for other than physical reasons—to avoid a feeling or create a feeling—we say, “No, I will stay right here and breathe and notice what distress exists in me. I won’t try to escape myself.” We catch ourselves staying too busy or overdoing anything—spending, exercising, cleaning, working—and we say, “Stop! I won’t allow this acting out to continue. I want to be present to myself on a deeper level.”
Self-love is always saying “Yes” to the essence of who we are. We see through the transitory behaviors and feelings to the ongoing flow that exists at our center. And we commit daily and momentarily to be aware of that flow. We respect what is in us without judgment. In fact, we release all judgments of ourselves. We don’t own our lives. We recognize that we are given an opportunity to express the light at our center which we didn’t create. Self-love is expressing that light joyfully without self-consciousness.
And then we practice presence in the next moment and say “Yes” again.  And that’s true love.


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