In this article, we will talk ruminate over the true, healthy kind of self-love. It is as pure and noble as parents’ unconditional love of their children.
Self-love is immensely important!
But first to clarify: in this kind of love, we are never putting ourselves above others. Even if we do not feel much love of other people, when we truly love ourselves, the love of others will naturally grow in our hearts.
True self-love is not egoistic, is not selfish at all. When you truly love yourself, the love of others will naturally blossom in your heart. Like all other beings, you also deserve love and happiness. Therefore, why shouldn’t you love yourself as others?
I guess this is the only topic I maybe disagree with Eckhart Tolle. Unless I misunderstood him (which is quite probable), he asserted several times that it is not possible that you love yourself, because love is a relationship between two or more beings. On the contrary, I feel that real love is not a relationship, it is a state of being. Perhaps it's just a matter of different definition. When we love somebody, we desire that they be genuinely happy. Similarly, if we love ourselves, we desire true happiness for ourselves, that we be joyful, healthy, and prosperous. So, we can love ourselves, and it is crucial for our well-being.
Yes, love is a deep tendency toward a unity of two or more beings, toward oneness. This is indeed an important aspect of love, but it also could be applied to self-love. One can love her own parts of personality, her physical body, her heart, soul, or higher self, as all these may be considered as relatively distinct parts of her being. Why not? Through self-love, she may help all these aspects of her being to fully reintegrate, reunite, and become one, as they have actually been all the time.
Why Is Self-Love So Important?
By loving ourselves, we are doing our best for our well-being, for our growth, health, and overall happiness.
When we truly love ourselves, our actions, both conscious and subconscious, will genuinely be directed toward our happiness, prosperity, and spiritual liberation.
If one develops healthy love toward herself, she won’t be able to do any harm to herself anymore, neither consciously nor unconsciously. Her subconscious mind will not undermine her genuine actions. Moreover, she will feel lovable. She will further deepen existing bonds with supportive people, heal many painful interactions, and attract some new, beautiful and fulfilling relationships.
When we truly love ourselves, our actions, both conscious and subconscious, will genuinely be directed toward our happiness, prosperity, and spiritual liberation.
Additionally, scientific research has shown that developing self-love results in an increase in optimism, and a decrease of depression and anxiety. It also brings frequent and more enduring healthy behavior changes and more effective recovery from stress.
On the other hand, lack of self-love increases suicidal tendencies and attempts according to the American Association of Suicidology. It intensifies depression, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. This is the root of self-sabotage. Self-love deprivation may also lead to alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, and many other difficulties.
I often reflect over many aspects of life through the Holographic View of the Universe, because of its universality, incredible lucidity, and symbolic applicability in virtually in all areas of our existence.
In short, translated to spiritual life, the Holographic Principle asserts that our inner being is symbolically mirrored in the outer reality, and vice versa. Applied to this topic, the holographic view implies that whenever we, as a microcosm, are cultivating healthy self-love, we are certainly growing love of the macrocosm, i.e., external world and all its beings.
In other words (and putting aside romantic love), we can truly love others only to the extent we love ourselves. And when we truly love others, we love and nurture ourselves, too.
The holographic view implies that whenever we, as a microcosm, are cultivating healthy self-love, we are certainly growing love of the macrocosm, i.e., external world and all its beings.
However, if we are desperately trying to love other people, while we haven’t resolved our inner obstacles to our well-being, a dangerous imbalance may occur – all the energy of love directed toward other beings will be reflected back into ourselves, but may dissipate and pale out.
How to Develop Self-Love
Every human being has their unique excellence. It is a particular talent, skill or ability possessed deep inside, which is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards.
You may already be certain of your own excellence. If that is the case, the part of this article about it might not be relevant to you (although you still may find the Timeline Method useful for other purposes).
However, most people do not know what their best qualities are. Inhibited by the chores and pressures of everyday life, people often forget about their unique strengths and talents. They may not even be aware they have any excellence at all.
Once we are able to reclaim that lost power, though, we can redirect our lives toward any path. We can find a unique purpose on Earth and make our lives immensely happier.
The Timeline Method
How do we achieve that? Here is one direct method for finding our excellence: the Timeline Method.
First draw a simple timeline on a sheet of paper, with a zero point representing the year of your birth, and a point near the right arrow, indicating your present age, as shown below.
Now, say that you are 40 years old. Divide your lifetime into 5-year periods, which in this case means to divide the line span between birth and present into 8 parts (see figure below).
Then, try to recall a few of the most important events in your life for each 5-year period, whether they are positive (pleasant) or negative (unpleasant) to you. When I am talking about events, I mean experiences. They can be sudden and brief incidents, related to an exact point in time, or kind of fuzzy impressions, even stretching through longer periods of your life. They might be a mix of positive and negative feelings, rather than just one. The only criterion for the importance of events should be the intensity of emotions connected with them, regardless of their pleasantness.
So, although our intent is to recollect positive experiences related to important achievements from our past, it is necessary to search for all types of experiences (positive, mixed, and negative ones), because that will ease the whole process of recollection. The events will flow out from our memory more naturally. Also, this timeline may play a tremendous role in other aspects of your inner work. Perhaps you might want to work with traumas from your past, using, for example, Accepting the Temporary I technique to dissolve the unpleasant emotional burden of events.
You could also do this without drawing the timeline. However, a visual representation of the concrete periods of your past is a good stimulus for your subconscious mind and smoother memory recollection.
You may put pleasant and mixed experiences above the timeline, and the unpleasant ones below it.
It might look something like the figure below:
Write down the labels for every experience, together with dominant emotions and names of the most significant people involved in each life event.
Finding the Excellence
With all this in front of you, you will begin the process of finding your excellence by making a new list out of all these pleasant experiences. It will just be a starting point for this purpose. These positive events will be a basis for a much broader list. Following each period from the timeline, write down every single achievement in your life that you can recall. Both your big and small achievements should be written down.
Important criteria for these attainments are only two qualities: first, you loved doing them, so they were easy or natural, and second, you were happy with the result.
Next, analyze and compare these achievements by passing through the whole list. Search for your individual traits which were praised most often, and which of your personal qualities had steered you toward every single accomplishment. Write down which traits and skills you had during those moments, or periods, that were required for achieving those feats. You may attach at least two personal qualities to each accomplishment.
Next, go over all your newly written skills on the list. Find the most frequent and significant skills. If you can, it is best to extract only one or two of them. These are your abilities and talents that you should use for all your future endeavors; taken jointly, they are your excellence.
For instance, your true excellence might be public speaking, personal development, decision making, math, accounting, bookkeeping, sports, painting, music, singing, writing, legal, marketing, programming, humor, photography, video creation, wisdom, foreign languages, teaching, training, leadership, strategic planning, story telling, fitness, ability to focus, conflict resolution, futurism, …
Anyway, this revelation may be revolutionary to you. Thanks to it, you will be able to define or modify your life goals in accordance with your rediscovered excellence. You can steer your life in the same direction with much more confidence, or to change your direction whatsoever.
Good luck with your inner work! :-)
Many successful people keep journals. Also, some famous figures in history, like Napoleon or Marcus Aurelius kept journals. This practice has some obvious benefits – it clears up your mind, releases stress, and brings you clarity and inner peace.
There are many varieties of journaling, like keeping a diary; journaling with the Stream of Consciousness technique; keeping a journal from others’ perspective; dream journaling; art journaling; and many, many others. For all of these methods, you can easily find instructions on the Internet.
However, in this article, I will focus on a new type of this practice: the Vantage Point Journaling, part of the Reintegration System methodology.
Vantage Point Journaling
We could say that this is a unique journaling technique. It is different from all other methods in that it initiates writing from four distinctive points of view:
You can adapt your Vantage Point (VP) Journaling practice to your own needs and circumstances. For example, you can keep your diary in a VP Journal form, or practice the Stream of Consciousness technique in a VP Journal framework. Of course, you can apply any other well-known journaling method and do it from several points of view of VP Journaling practice.
Vantage Point Journaling is different from all other methods in that it initiates writing from four distinctive points of view.
VP Diary Journaling
This method of journaling is especially good for those of you who need to improve mental clarity, de-clutter the mind, and improve focus.
All of us know very well what a diary is. What’s important for this practice is that diary captures streams of thought in an organized and structured way. It requires investing a certain amount of energy and focus on writing.
In this framework we will write our diary from several vantage points – the Temporary I, the Heart, another person’s perspective, and Pure Consciousness.
The VP Diary Journaling structure is the following:
Stage 1: Writing from the Temporary I
To begin with your journaling session, do not try to change your mindset or relax too much. Just stay in your current state of mind, whatever it is. Maybe you are anxious, worried, angry, or experiencing any other emotion. You have to write exactly from that state. In this stage, your vantage point is your Temporary I, your transitory I-feeling at that very moment. Just become aware of your Temporary I, its location within your body, and – write.
Think about your day, event, or person that you want to write about. The text should be relatively structured, with meaningful sentences. You may be putting on the paper the most important impressions of that particular day, event, or person. Your diary may also relate to thoughts, emotions, new ideas, etc. Let it flow from you.
If you are writing in the evening, you can structure your journal by creating a list of questions that you will answer:
Give three to five meaningful answers to each of these questions.
When you finish your text, review it. Feel and fully accept main ideas or parts of your text, one by one. You must accept all the main thoughts in the text. By doing that you will effectively remove a great deal of that day’s burden.
On the other hand, if you are journaling in the morning, you can create a list of questions related to your goals or action steps for that day, like these:
If you are working with goals, at the end of your text write down the most important goals you are currently working toward.
If you want, you can limit the time of writing in this stage, but it should last no less than five minutes. But don’t worry – if you are too tired, it won’t be a problem to reduce your writing to only one or two sentences that comprise your whole day.
Stage 2: Writing from the Heart
The second stage requires you to relax and open your mind. You will probably already find yourself pretty relaxed because the first phase (writing from your Temporary I) has surely de-cluttered your mind to a significant extent.
As every individual human being has their ups and downs, so does mankind. Each of us regularly faces various hardships, which are, in fact, results of our prolonged periods of stagnation in numerous areas of our life. That’s the purpose of every hardship-an opportunity for awakening, for change.
Collective entities like families, nations, or the whole of humanity, also experience recurring challenges, similar to individuals. Whenever there is stagnation and lethargy in our collective mind, a big change is inevitable.
Our species is facing difficult times. The history of mankind is rich with these episodes-wars, diseases, earthquakes, floods, economic crises… We are currently experiencing such a period. The COVID-19 pandemic is a harsh reminder for us all to wake up.
Our collective mind is overwhelmed with this pandemic. Our individual minds are immersed in this sea of fear and anxiety, too. Can you feel it? Do you often find yourself thinking about coronavirus threat, numerous fatalities, looming danger of becoming infected, or the economic crisis it has already generated? Most probably you do. The majority of people are strongly drawn to that whirlpool.
Anxiety and fear are the natural response to the unknown, and these conditions are certainly abundant with many unknowns and concerns. So, do not blame yourself or others for that.
How to Cope with COVID-19 Fear?
So, what can one do in this situation? Here are some guidelines for staying healthy, safe, mentally and emotionally stable, and even for turning this challenging time into a unique opportunity for your development.
1. Follow the Instructions of Authorities
This is the first and most important thing. Follow all the instructions and measures imposed by the government and medical authorities. This is essential.
3. Apply the ATI Technique Whenever Possible
To overcome the fear and anxiety related to COVID-19, my strong recommendation is to use a quick but very effective mental/emotional technique that may be applied in every other situation as well. Its name is Accepting the Temporary I (ATI).
As soon as you learn it, you will instantly recognize its astonishing efficiency. Whenever you become aware of your anxiety or fear, apply the ATI method and you will sense an immediate relief.
So, when you want to dissolve an unwanted experience with the ATI technique, you will:
1) Direct your attention to it and pinpoint its location (if possible);
2) Feel your “Temporary I” from which you are experiencing the content, and finally,
3) Completely accept the “Temporary I.”
Temporary I is your current I-feeling. It is the place or small area in your body where you feel your sense of “I” is most noticeable at that particular moment.
The ATI technique is described in detail here, while the concept of Temporary I and how to find it is depicted here.
You can do the ATI in countless common situations, especially in coping with typical anxiety, such as the fear of COVID-19 pandemic and its possible disastrous consequences.
For example, if you become aware that you are overwhelmed with fretful thoughts, you can accept and dissolve your Temporary I from which you are experiencing them. They will disappear, at least for a while. Or, if you find yourself flooded with emotions of fear, worry, angst, or anger, notice the location of your Temporary I and accept it.
Of course, if this mind content on which you were doing the ATI arises again, just repeat the procedure until it vanishes. Similarly, if you are in the company of a nervous or irritating person, you may quietly accept several times the Temporary I from which you are feeling the annoyance.
While you are reading articles or watching the TV news about the disease, try to do the ATI as many times as possible. This will make you stable and immune to all these bothersome influences.
Each time you do the ATI, you will notice that your unwanted mental or emotional content has vanished. At least for a while, you are free from it. However, as the ATI is only a basic Reintegration technique, it does not deal with the root of your problems.
After some practice, you will do each step of the ATI fast and easy, so the whole process will take you no more than five to ten seconds.
Mindfulness is the practice of being consciously present in the Now whenever and wherever possible. The more you develop this skill, the more you will be free from all kinds of unnecessary thoughts, body tension, disturbing emotions, and, of course, the COVID-19 anxiety.
You have to do any activity fully conscious of yourself and of the activity itself.
Although many people don’t consider it as strictly spiritual, mindfulness indeed is a purely divine practice. It leads you to your true nature while dissolving your inner conflicts softly and almost imperceptibly. Moreover, every conscious moment in the Now will gradually accumulate and make your whole life easier. It will abate or even prevent challenges.
When mindfulness becomes your intrinsic way of living, you will enjoy every task, you will become light and, in a strange way, even transparent. You will start sensing some inexplicable joy and deep inner peace. You will feel love more and more, both to yourself and the people around you.
On the Reintegration website, you can find an excerpt from my book “Inner Peace, Outer Success” about mindfulness. It describes this practice in numerous everyday situations, including how to develop specific mindfulness triggers - situations that your subconscious mind instantly recognizes as automatic activators of your conscious presence.
Accordingly, you may create mindfulness triggers from the fear and excessive thinking about this pandemic. Thus, whenever you find yourself thinking about the disease, or fearing it, you will automatically become consciously present and your thoughts and anxiety will subside.
5. Meditate Regularly
Steady meditation practice has a variety of benefits. It will provide you with additional love, health, strength, calmness, creativity, clarity, and smoothness in your life. It will surely help you a lot in these times of pandemic.
Meditation goes side by side with mindfulness. Without regular meditation sittings, your mindfulness can easily lose its foundation. Therefore, it is highly recommended to practice them concurrently.
You have countless varieties of meditation at your disposal. Within the Reintegration System, you can choose, for example, pure awareness or body/emotional awareness meditation, which are quite similar to those presented by Eckhart Tolle. You could also practice loving-kindness meditation, which is, in my opinion, very important. Meditation practice may also be focused on a mindful walk, open-focus awareness, acceptance, relaxation with the reintegration of subconscious structures, etc.
One example of “pure awareness” meditation technique is the following:
Emotions are precious messengers that may convey vital lessons about our lives.
There are no “positive” and “negative” or “good” and “bad” emotions. In fact, so-called “negative” emotions often carry more valuable information about our inner being than the “positive” ones.
Anger, rage, resentment, fear, anxiety, sadness, despair... All these feelings, in fact, have great transformative potential in the development of each of us. For this reason, the only possible classification of emotions would be (1) “pleasant,” (2) “neutral,” and (3) “unpleasant.” Actually, this grouping may help us in finding the proper ways of dealing with them.
Nevertheless, the only authentic way of dealing with emotions is to directly face them and reintegrate them into our whole being.
The only authentic way of dealing with emotions is to directly face them and reintegrate them into the wholeness of our being.
Dealing with Emotions
Since every emotion is, in fact, a thought with a strong energy charge, it is always expressed in our body through physical sensations.
Emotional energy is constantly reflected in the body, causing different reactions in its specific parts. It is almost always expressed as a tension of a group of muscles, sometimes accompanied by other phenomena—heat or cold, pain, sweating, heart palpitations, rapid breathing, shivering, etc.
Sometimes we are not even aware that there is a strong emotion in us that, if not reintegrated, can cause various difficulties and, eventually, illness. Focusing on the physical sensations that result from such emotions will help us more easily recognize their appearance in everyday life.
In this sense, it is very important for us to develop a continuous awareness of the presence of emotions through the recognition of their manifestations in our body.
Related to this, we have two ways of developing the awareness of the presence of emotions, that is, emotional awareness:
We have two ways of developing the awareness of the presence of emotions, that is, emotional awareness: (1) continuous awareness of physical sensations, and (2) periodic body scans.
Continuous Awareness of Physical Sensations
This awareness is, in fact, a form of mindfulness, which we may also call the conscious Presence. This type of mindfulness should include observing both external and internal contents.
When we talk about mindfulness, with the development of this skill we are gradually increasing our awareness of external stimuli—the varied images conveyed to us by the sense of sight; the sounds conveyed by our hearing; and all other content that our other senses convey.
Also, by practicing Presence, we become increasingly aware of everything that is happening in our inner world—both in the psyche and the body. Thoughts, mental images, emotions, and all kinds of physical sensations are tremendously important objects of our observation. I should also add that in mindfulness, while consciously observing various external and/or internal events, it is vital to maintain awareness of our sense of I, or self.
Another way to develop overall emotional awareness is to periodically scan the body.
Body Scans in Search of Unpleasant Emotions
Unpleasant emotions strongly affect our physical form. Each of them has its own characteristic body imprint. Some emotions cause tightness of the neck muscles, others cause stomach stiffness, some trigger tension in the chest, while certain emotions are mainly expressed on the face or in the limbs. There are also those that are expressed through the spasms across the whole body. In addition, many emotions are manifested in the body through pain, nausea, itching, and various other unpleasant bodily feelings.
Each of emotions has its own characteristic body imprint.
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