Importance of Intention in Self Love
“One who truly cares for themselves could never harm another.” – the Buddha
“With our thoughts we make the world” – the Buddha
Deciding to love yourself, rather than waiting for it to happen when you have become some marvelous person you hope to be one day, is a key part of well being. Loving yourself as you are now, warts and all. “What?!? “ -shouts the inner critic- “I am not deserving of my own constant love and care. I must be tormented and scolded, or I will sink into a quagmire of pathetic insufficiency!”
Unconditional self love does not mean passively accepting our own self destructive or hurtful habits. It means working consistently, and with love and patience, toward our own potentials – and also recognizing our strengths. Our self-corrective times do not come from self hate, but from self love. Our self-celebrating times do not come from grandiosity but from gratitude for being a complex and miraculous part of the natural world. Loving your own successes in the same way you might love a sunset.
Imagine a really great parent. Imagine the levels of patience, of clarity, of kindness, of guidance a great parent would give a child finding their way. Self love looks like becoming that great parent for ourselves. And intending to create that for ourselves is the first step in allowing it to happen.
When we consciously intend to love ourselves, we plant a powerful seed that has the potential to bring previously unknown levels of well being into our daily lives. Why? Because when we love ourselves, then the person who knows us the most intimately truly loves us, has our back, and is there for us with genuine kindness. And when we are present for ourselves with kindness, life is more pleasant. Well being increases.
The more you do something, the easier it gets. The more you can remind yourself of your intention to love yourself, the more the possibilities for offering yourself care and kindness – both in your inner words to yourself and in your outer actions – will arise. In James Baraz’s book, Awakening Joy, he quotes Dr. Daniel Siegel (clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute): “Intentions create an integrated state of priming, a gearing up of our neural system to be in the mode of that specific intention : we can be readying to receive, to sense, to focus, to behave in a certain manner.” As I said…setting an intention plants a powerful seed.
Try this two step process:
1. Find a way to phrase an intention of self love (self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-kindness) that you at least somewhat resonate with. Keep it simple, in the positive, and don’t use qualifiers like “I’ll try to…” or “a little..”.
2. Read your intention aloud to yourself every day for at least a week. Think of it as a Harry Potter type of spell; a kind of magic that may really bring about positive change in your life.
Intention is powerful. Why not try? Loving yourself more might help this short life be more fun, and bring you more happiness. Go for it!