The alternative to self-love is self-destruction. Because you won’t take the risk of loving yourself properly, you will be compelled instead to destroy yourself. So which would you rather have? - Alan Watts
Nick, Do Not Indulge These Feelings!
I used to struggle with self- love. Or, to put it differently? I had a strong streak of self-shaming.
Having been bullied throughout my time at school by both pupils and teachers, I did what so many do, I internalized the shame and, convinced that there was something fundamentally wrong with me, I no longer needed others to shame me. I did it to myself. I became adept at self-shaming.
I would listen to spiritual teachers talking about self-love and though I got it intellectually, I could never really act from a place of self love.
Then one day, I got it.
I realized that my self-shaming, self-loathing self could no more love itself than a dirty cloth could clean itself.
More importantly, I began to understand that the self-loathing self was not me. It was an illusion. It was just an image, a set of habits of thoughts which I had come to identify as "I". I began to experience a different sense of self, one that was a like a clean cloth. It was a big self that could step back, see the illusion of the small self and at the same time feel acceptance and compassion towards him.
This for me was the beginning of self-love.
Just who or what this big self is, continues to be a fascinating exploration. Alan Watts hints at where this exploration can lead:-
So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself. What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.
Meeting the inner beloved
Bring more love into your life - starting with self-love. A weekend retreat with Nick Hudis and Kalyani Ma Mukti. April 2020.
But what is self-love really?
Often, the media, and indeed teachers who should know, better equate self-love with self indulgence or self-seeking. Love yourself - have some chocolate ( or a drink, or a joint or whatever)
Nothing could be further from the truth.
My self-loathing identity presented in the archetype of a hurt little boy. He did not need chocolate, he needed to do some growing up and he needed to develop resilience and self-responsibility. He needed a loving but firm inner parent figure to give him structure and self-discipline.
He needed to grow some balls.
Some years ago, when the hurt little boy was really kicking off, I phoned my teacher, Shakti Malan, desperate for some support. She listened patiently to my self-pitying ramblings and then simply said,
"Nick, you must not indulge these feelings."
The wise inner parent is only going to be found on the inside.
Self-responsibility is the highest form of self love.
In what ways are you shaming yourself?
What feelings are you indulging?
What actions follow from that self-shaming and indulgence?
What do you need to hear from that wise inner parent?
Having heard your wise inner parent, what act of self-responsibility are you going to do right now?
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Who Am I?
I am Nicholas Hudis an author and mentor dedicated to the path of self-cultivation. After 25 years as a therapist/coach, I see that the need is not for therapy but for cultivating the skill to live wisely, ethically and purposefully. I am no "sage" but the wisdom of Confucius, the Buddha and the Stoic philosophers guides me on a daily basis. My desire is to share this inspiration, through my writings and personal mentoring, and make a difference to your life too.