life · Lifestyle · Love · Meditation · Philosophy · Psychology · spiritual · Spirituality · Uncategorized · Wellness · Yoga

How To Practice Self-Love Without Being Selfish?

This weekend is a time for most singles around the world, including myself, to question the following:

Why don’t I have a valentine?

Having been single for almost three consecutive years now, after a 7 year relationship, 5 spent married, the reality shift and adjustment to “single ready to mingle” life was difficult. Throughout the past few years I questioned the obsessive and possessive nature of love that can actually destruct said love. I thought about the insanity called love and how it leaves us so vulnerable. During this period of time we call “love” we do things that may be out of the norm, which leaves us questioning our own mental sanity. What I’m trying to say here is that love is crazy. Love is inexplicable, which is why it makes it such an abstract but beautiful concept that for centuries have left philosophers pondering. When we think of this four lettered word, especially hyperaware of it during this Valentine Day, we tend to associate love to sharing it with someone. But is that a requirement? 

Yesterday, I was inspired by a quote by Mother Teresa

If we worry too much about ourselves, we won’t have time for others.

Now, I agree with this quote whole-heartedly. When we become engulfed in self-cherishing thoughts to inflate our own ego and move about our days and weeks by puffing our sense of self, then yes, we won’t have time for others. However, I consider it very important to practice self-love and self-worth, for at least a few minutes a day, so we are able to benefit others (loved ones, strangers, co-workers, etc). When we lack that level of self-love and are deep down unhappy, we do not serve anyone and become a burden on those who truly care for our well-being.

As I’ve spent the last year and a half discovering ways to practicing self-love. I’ve run into moments where I’ve questioned the level of selfishness involved in this. It is selfish, but doesn’t mean it’s bad. 

One of the best advices we got at the monastery was to practice how to be “selflessly selfish”, which pretty much means to really remove the ego and pride when you are trying to take care of YOURself. Take care of yourself not to benefit your own self as the main beneficiary of the love you’re cultivating, but think about those who will interact with you and dedicate that love to others. By putting yourself secondary in your relationships, you’re truly prioritizing both parties, even though you might question whether or this is going to just give permission for people to step all over you. It is a difficult concept to understand and I still struggle with it, but here are a few ways I’ve been trying to be selflessly selfish:

  1. By practicing of yoga and meditation.
  2. Setting a quick intention in the morning to not stress out about all the stressors that might come my way. If they do, I make a very strong effort to practice patience and love. Most especially, not release my anger on anyone else. Nobody deserves that.
  3. Taking some time to “feed” my ego once in a while. I don’t make it a habit, but sometimes I do treat my ego to a “nice walk to the ice cream parlor”. I stop myself from the negative self talk when I indulge.
  4. By taking care of myself. Whether that is giving myself a face mask or spending about 5 minutes moisturizing the body, I do it with love. Yes, caress and love thyself. Nothing wrong!
  5. Before I go to sleep, I think about how I’ve treated people that day. Go through your mental rolodex and see if you might have hurt anyone’s feeling that day. If you did, don’t blame yourself, just ask yourself “How you can make it better tomorrow?”

In the spirit of this weekend perpetuated by American consumerism, let’s take a moment to reflect on all the beings we love, but most specifically, looking deeper within ourselves.

If you have more thoughts, please add them to the list with a quick reply.

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