Kind of like all forgiveness is self-forgiveness, all love is self-love. If we don't love ourselves, how can we love others?
After my first ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat, I came home and wrote these three rules on my fridge:
Three Rules for Life
1) Be kind to yourself
2) Do not harm others
3) Purify your mind
According to Vipassana teacher SN Goenka, being kind to yourself comes first because if you are not kind to yourself, you cannot be truly kind to others. You can try to be kind to others and you can pretend to be kind to others, but you cannot be truly kind to others if you are feeling angry, dissatisfied or stressed out.
I think about this a lot when I am feeling tense or annoyed or angry. I try and ask myself: How can I be kind to myself? Which is kind of like asking: How can I love myself?
So, how can you love yourself today? Make today a self-love-fest and see how it works for you. Is it easier to be kind to others? Do you have more patience? More kindness? More love to give when you start with yourself?
If you want to go deeper in your work with self-love, I highly recommend the work of Elisa Balabram. She has lots of great tools and articles on her website to help you learn to love yourself. Check it out!
I leave you with one final quote about spiritual work and self-love:
"There is a way which is supremely effective. Just look at yourself as you are, see yourself as you are, accept yourself as you are, and go ever deeper into what you are." --Nisargadatta Maharaj