The Blog

Love Yourself, There Is No Self... Which One Is It?

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

I really love the quote from Marcus Aurelius that Arianna quoted in the Thrive course:

True understanding is to see the events of life in this way:

"You are here for my benefit, though rumor paints you otherwise."

And everything is turned to one's advantage when he greets a situation like this:

"You are the very thing I've been looking for."

Truly everything in life is the right material to bring about your growth and the growth of those around you. This, in a word is art. And this art called "Life" is a practice suitable to both men and gods.

Everything contains some special purpose and a hidden blessing:

What then could be strange or arduous when all of life is here to greet you like an old and faithful friend?

-- Marcus Aurelius

This week we are working on our fears, getting naked and honest with what they are, just taking a good look!

When I distill all of my fears down to one simple quote throughout my life has been:

I am afraid to really love myself.

It's funny people say, "You have to love yourself!" and then in the same breath they say, "One must overcome the self" Other spiritual beliefs say, "There is no self," or "The self is the ego."

It becomes pretty freaking confusing to figure out well... WHICH ONE IS IT?!

It feels like REALLY loving oneself is the ultimate taboo.

Like unabashedly loving myself might actually mean I get to LOVE myself!

I've given up trying to figure out whether it's the dreaded ego or "the self" that I'm loving, I mean honestly does it matter? Why can't I love it all?

There is a hidden conflicting message I think that we get underneath the "love yourself" message which is "but for heaven's sake not too much!"

You know honestly, sometimes I think what an amazing phenomenon this human thing really is.

I mean think about it, I have a body, that breaths me, digests my food, runs all my internal organs without any real help from me!

I have a mind that can ponder the nature of the universe, and can just as easily laugh and be silly.

I have thoughts! I have loving compassionate thoughts, creepy weird thoughts. I have emotions! I have a body that can feel!

Feelings that will have water coming from my eye sockets when I am touched deeply by something or someone! Come on! How can I not adore every single bit of all of that!!

This being human, wow, it's pretty amazing! Can I just love it?!

This fear of loving myself had me afraid of my greatness. To step up and say I was born for greatness.

The greatest version of me, for each of us it will be completely different.

To admit I'm a healer and I'm actually extremely good at what I do, whenever I say it, it touches me because I know this is true, in the past there has been a slight sting like, can I say that? Is that okay? Is that too much?

I think not! I would bet most of us are experts on readily sharing the awful ghastly things about ourselves openly before we say: "Yeah this dress DOES look great on me, thanks for saying that, I agree!"

I remember as a little girl hearing Muhammad Ali say: "I AM the Greatest! I am the prettiest man alive!" I would just stare at the TV like what?

It was extraordinary to see someone saying all these wildly affirming things about himself with absolutely no apologies!

It felt like watching a good performing art piece, that in his over the top verbosity he gave us permission, permission to radically love ourselves.

In the Marcus Aurelius quote he talks about "this art called life" I have been afraid a lot of times in my life to go for the dream, to take the shot, to take the risk that might propel me forward. I really believe it came from a fear of truly allowing life to love me back, it had me unable to even receive love from another, because that too would be loving myself!

I think like most things in life it's best to keep it simple; and the simple thing to do is to face this fear of self love, to absolutely adore my sweet self, with all of my weird, wackadoodle idiosyncratic oddities, with all of my uniqueness and flat out undeniable talent! And just make this the ART of my life! To adore myself. If I do I won't have to try to love others, it'll just come, I notice it just feels good when I love people, and it hurts when I can't or I don't.

So even loving another is selfishly loving myself!

The deeper message in the Marcus Aurelius quote that I heard felt like, what it is to fall in love with life! To look our fears of life in the face and say! Holy bananas Life, you kind of scare me with all of your unknowables and unpredictabilities but I'm game! I'm game to risk all the risks to be in union with you like a lover, risking that at any minute you can break my heart but loving you any damn way!

Loving life and myself without defense, without pretense. I think then life can greet me, give to me all that I have ever really wanted. Then it can love me back passionately, wildly!

A grand love affair with life, with myself, with God!

Yeah fear comes, but as Marcus Aurelius says everything comes with a hidden blessing, I believe fears gift for me has been in risking transcending it, not avoiding it but learning from it and moving through it's teachings to find Love...