“All other love is extinguished by self-love; beneficence, humanity, justice, philosophy, sink under it.”  -Epicurus

 

I am not sure why I started with the most difficult of all affirmations to begin my book, and surely I am among many who read the words: “I love myself,” but can’t quite feel them.

I suppose this is my  first affirmation, because in many ways, it is the ground of any and all others. It is a complex act, even though it seems like it should be simple. Our capacity for self love is an accurate barometer of our ability to receive all other love. For affirmations to really work, they have to be experienced from the inside out, which is to say that the recognition of what feels true resonates in our body, specifically around our heart, if the impact is going to be felt.

This idea of self love permeates the literature and culture of our time. You would think for so much repetition and content that it would be easier to manifest.  Even the Buddha, years ago in one of his most profound teachings said,”If you search the world over, you will not find one more worthy of your own love than you, yourself.” I remember the first time I read those words, they hit me with both aspiration and grief- for where I wanted to go and how far I was from it.
Lately, there are moments when I say these words, I love myself and can feel it.  Here I am upon my 53rd birthday and I have finally gotten to a place where what is right with me, at least balances my frailties and weaknesses. I can appreciate my efforts and honor my intentions.  I can hold onto myself when others let go.  I can feel comfort with my own solitude.
Mind you, this is not a 100% reliable experience. It often needs to be supported by other affirmations and some days I can’t really feel it at all. Like meditation and other practices, going through the motions, even when you can’t get the feeling to go with it, counts. Watching yourself lose balance in yoga postures is as much an education as the crystal moments of sticking them.
So, as you begin an affirmation practice, make sure somewhere in your deck is this simple, yet most challenging declaration of self love. It is one of those quests, that the longer you move towards it, the deeper it etches itself in you.