Invitation To Love Yourself First…
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
When we think of Loving Kindness we often think of that love being directed at others, which is wonderful, but we all deserve Loving Kindness for ourselves…compassionate and unconditional love within and just as we are. We are aloud to practice this and it is the wellspring from which true joy and peace emerge.
This invitation for us to practice Loving Kindness isn’t to be narcissistic or self centered (we all know there’s enough of that in the world!), it is an invitation to build and renew ourselves from within…to feel whole and complete. Then we can offer and give that same Loving Kindness to others without feeling depleted or lacking ourselves.
Loving Kindness is more than treating ourselves to new clothes, going on a vacation, or reciting a few affirmations now and then. It means having the courage to peel back layers of fear, pain, sadness, self doubt, and so on. Loving Kindness means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and still confront whatever emotions and reactions arise. The willingness to take the first steps and the commitment to take the time to keep moving forward.
This practice may feel very unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or down right scary so it’s important for us to be gentle with ourselves. After all, it means reflecting inward instead of outside of ourselves (where all of those distractions keep us busy) and that is difficult. The sweet peaceful reward though is invaluable…it is worth the long inward journey to plant that seed and nurture it. Then we can truly help ourselves grow and flourish while spreading that Loving Kindness to everyone and everything around us.