A Vow to Love Yourself
I have come to believe that one of the greatest epidemics we face in our society — and in the world as a whole — is a great lack of self-love. I don’t mean the narcissistic type of love of which we see plenty of examples around us every day, especially on the TV and movie screens. I mean a genuine, compassionate love of self.
This lack of self-love, I sincerely believe, is at the root of all conflict, all disease, all mental health issues — all the challenges we face in this world.
We talk about love for our family, our romantic partner, our neighbor, even for our enemy. We have age-old ceremonies for expressing our commitment of love to a pending spouse, but we tend to skirt around the issue of self-love, possibly out of fear of seeming self-centered or becoming one of those narcissists we supposedly so abhor.
At the heart of every major spiritual tradition is the idea
that to love yourself is key to loving others.
Jesus taught his disciples to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The great Buddha said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection,” and “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
What difference might it make in the way you treat yourself and the compassion and love you show to yourself if you were to take a vow of self-love similar to a traditional vow that a bride and groom make to each other on their wedding day.
I take me to be my loving partner in life, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward.
Perhaps you might even take such a vow before a gathering of family and friends to provide a sense of accountability.
Would you be willing to take such a vow to love yourself? What difference would doing so, even in private, make in how you actually do love yourself? In your self-image? Your self-esteem? How you see and treat others?
Some interesting food for thought.
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