It is not obvious to love. It is a choice we make in every moment.
Many years ago, when I was on a vipassana retreat, I realized in a dream what it really means to love. The dream came after I had asked for help with the book I was writing to help Mother Earth. The dream was very clear, and I remembered every word and every action afterwards. It gave me a lot of insights into how we live today as unconscious individuals governed by emotions, ingrained behaviors and learned perceptions.
To understand the power of love, we need to realize that everything we do, say and think is affected by whether we choose to do it based on love or not. Choosing to love has nothing to do with falling in love, nothing to do with that feeling at all. It is a conscious choice we need to make but most of us are not conscious enough to make that choice. I will explain what I mean.
Most of us are trained from childhood to be a certain way to fit into the prevailing system. We learn how to act and be in different situations, at work, at school or at home and together with friends. We must learn to fit in and not be selfish. There is therefore often a misunderstanding when you talk about loving yourself as something selfish. When in fact it is just the opposite.
If you choose to love yourself, your choices for how to eat, think and be will be completely different than if you don’t love yourself. If we are stuck in the idea that we must constantly compare ourselves to others and listen to what those around us tell us, we find it difficult to love ourselves. We look for faults instead of seeing what is good and positive. We need to change ourselves to fit in and become like the others. It is difficult, almost impossible, to love yourself then. Our choices then often turn out to be wrong because we start from the group and what others choose instead of starting from ourselves and what is best for us. Your choices will therefore very often be incorrect.
If you don’t have the opportunity to love yourself because you are constantly finding fault with yourself then you will also see everyone else’s faults and flaws. We are often quick to point out these errors and shortcomings to each other as misguided help. Everything so that we fit in. If you instead choose to see yourself and others as the unique individuals that we all are, you make it possible to see what is positive, see what is good, both in you and in others. Then you open to the possibility of loving yourself and others for the fine individuals we actually are. Your choices will then be based on something you love and will be better for both you and others. So not selfish at all. Loving has nothing to do with the ego.
If we can look at everything that is in nature, everything that is natural to us, as something that can make it easier for us to live here on earth instead of seeing possible threats, then we open to the love of life and everything that exists.
Although we are subjected to trials of various kinds in life, we can choose to love. Once we realize that that choice is not so difficult to make and what positive consequences it has, it will change our lives in a marked way.
If we assume that we are all spiritual individuals who are temporarily on earth, then perhaps it will be easier to understand. You, or your soul, inhabits a physical body for a short time. If you choose to love the body that you have chosen yourself and take care of it in such a way, you will get completely different results. Just like when you love your children or love your home, you will want to do the best you can for yourself. The better choices you make for yourself, the stronger you become as an individual and the stronger you are, the harder it is for others to transform you into something you are not.
Choosing to be the best person you can be is loving yourself.