That’s just another way of saying, “You cannot give away what you do not possess.” Or, “You cannot give to another what you have not given to yourself already.”
If I cannot love my neighbor until I love myself, what then is the secret to self-love?
1. Meditate daily on this thought: Love, self-love, is not something I acquire…Love is who I am. Who you are. Love is not something you become, the consequence of a life of perfection. Love IS who you are now.
For years, I would pray and pray and pray still more for the fullness of God’s Spirit…for the fruit of God’s Spirit manifested in and through my life. When Saint Paul said, for example, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Gal. 5:22-23) and so forth, I would long for some assurance inside, some evidence outside, that I was finally getting there…finally arriving at the place of the fulness of the Spirit.
Most of the time, however, my basket of fruit came up woefully short.
Then, on day, I woke up. I realized I need not ask for that which I am. I became aware that I would NEVER become what I am already. Meditate instead on this truth: “I AM love…I AM joy…I AM peace…” NOW!
See what happens.
2. Give up trying. Practice letting go. Stop striving. When you finally get this, my friend, that trying to become your imaginary “best self”…that effort and struggle and striving to achieve your imaginary perfect and spiritual self, are all just subtle ways that the ego in you, instead of drawing you closer to the God who is in you…who IS you, the EGO instead is actually “Edging God Out,” as someone has put it. When you finally get this, you will forever let go. You will begin to live. By creating in you the feeling that you haven’t quite made it with God, however, the ego succeeds in making you feel you’ve got one foot in the door of the Kingdom, but still an outsider, too.
It’s endless insanity…to try to be the “good” Christian you believe you’re supposed to be.
Remind yourself instead, “I could NEVER become what I am already.”
Let go of all effort and you will naturally…with no striving whatsoever…begin discovering a greater love for yourself and, as a consequence, an infinite capacity to love others.
To forgive them, too.
When I hear wounded people say, “I could never forgive him for what he’s done to me” I respond, “Of course, you cannot. Not until you have forgiven yourself, first.”
The capacity another possesses to hurt you is the same capacity within you by which you often hurt yourself.
Again, you cannot give what you do not possess.
It is not, however, that you do not have enough love to give another…or, to give to yourself. It is not even that you need a greater capacity to forgive another who has wronged you.
What you and I need, my friend, is an AWARENESS and this comes magically…as an act of Divine grace…this awareness may be coming to you, even as you read this…GRACE…and that awareness is that you ARE the very capacities you feel are missing. You don’t need the fruit of the Spirit. You ARE the fruit.
If you pray and ask for anything, pray for awareness.
But then, why would you do that? You’ve just been given it. Right here. Right now. You ARE the awareness.
Practice reminding yourself…
“I am AWARE. I am Love. I am peace and joy. I am forgiveness.”
Because you ARE my friend.