by Anne Marie Meshanko

After hundreds of years of  learning about love, so many of us still feel unloved. Has the focus been wrong? Many books have been written and different religions and spiritual movements have taught about love, but most have focused their themes on loving and caring for others. They neglected to teach us how to love ourselves. Spiritual leaders have stressed not being selfish or egotistic. The thrust was to control the ego, don’t give it a voice or a chance to take over our lives. Spiritual people have spent much time and energy searching for it and weeding it out of existence.

When we control something so it won’t control us, fear is usually the reason.  Whatever we fear owns us by that very fear.  Because the ego is an integral part of our human nature—our individuating aspect—we can never really run very far from it. It is wise to establish a relationship with ourselves– to see and love the person in the mirror. Rather than being afraid of the ego, the key is to embrace and nurture it. This way the ego can mature into a healthy basis for individuality that can contribute to others and to community.

Becoming whole requires that we pay loving attention to ourselves. This does not mean to become narcissistic or to criticize ourselves. It does mean looking compassionately at who we are, how much we have struggled with life and how we do have the skill and love required to heal, to become who we want to be. This means it is important to our survival to understand how and why we do what we do regardless if anyone else understands. This kind of awareness is a part of consciousness. Compassion is the key. It grows out of understanding our inner and outer struggles with our own lives.

If we are honest, everyone has issues from childhood through adulthood.  They are part of being alive.  Some may seem more intense than others, but being kindly aware of them, not denying them, is vital to our truth.  Without a loving compassion for ourselves, we cannot have compassion for anyone else.  We cannot lovingly reach out to someone who is suffering if we have not first owned our struggle and begun the road that would transform our own pain.  Transformation comes from embracing, not denying our own hurt.

Truth asks us to sometimes step off the powerful road of positive behaviors to positively embrace what seem to be our negative behaviors rooted in negative emotions—our fear, our anger, our guilt and shame.  We must actually allow ourselves to experience and feel this negativity which we tend to hide from ourselves and others. Otherwise it sneaks out sometimes when we least expect it.  Understanding why this negativity is there is crucial to healing it.  Then, understanding and loving ourselves, even when we see our personal weakness, is critical to walking in our own power.

We are not responsible for healing the pain in others. In this universe, we are primarily responsible for how we manage our own energy.  As we live our truth, our journeys often interact with others.  We can reach out and touch another’s heart and help it to heal if the other is willing.  We do this by creating and holding a loving space so the other person feels safe enough to look at their own issues. When they are not ready, respect for their right to choose their own road requires us to let them work out their personal problems. Loving them sometimes means continuing on our own journey and healing ourselves. Taking power over someone else’s life is not a viable reality in a free will universe.

Working on someone else’s problem can be an escape from working on our own issues. Some might call this selfishness, yet learning to love ourselves first is the easiest road to touching honestly and compassionately the hearts and lives of family and friends. Healing our blocked emotions by understanding and releasing our own hidden fears and anger, paying attention to what we are really thinking and feeling will help us love and respect even those parts of ourselves that we don’t particularly like. This opens our hearts to loving those we might otherwise ignore because they make us uncomfortable and remind us of our own wounds of life. Such awareness of our shadow side helps us to own our total truth in a positive way that emerges from our inner strength as we heal self and reach out to love others. It cannot own us again.

How do I manage my own energies or power in my relationships with those in my world.?

Can I change the ways I manage my own energy / power?

Do I live only in my mind—Do I only think about living or do I truly walk in my own feet?   In other words, do I only observe life, not experience it?

Is my body an integral part of myself, my energy field?