You cannot make yourself love yourself just as you cannot make yourself love another person. Loving yourself is a result, rather than a cause, of a changed personality. When you have rid yourself of qualities that you dislike or are no longer limited by fears and inhibitions, or you just happen to have a a really good life and all goes well, you will naturally feel happy about yourself and you can call that loving yourself.
The next question is what self is it that you love?
We have many different parts to our being, for this article, we will break it down to two main parts, the human and the spiritual. They are very different beings and often are incompatible with each other in their desires. That should be clear and obvious since one is mortal and material and the other is spiritual and non-material, as well as immortal.
How could these two self’s be the same or similar since they are of two totally different worlds? Of course they cannot be, yet they live as Siamese twins making the one being called “you”.
This is the cause of suffering in Buddhist terms or the original sin in religions; that we have forgotten or forsaken the truth of our being in that we are a spiritual being and part of god but we now believe ourself to be a human being living in this world, individual and separate from god and everyone else.
In Buddhist terms, the reason we reincarnate and are stuck in this world is our desire to be individual. We want to be acknowledged, unique and special. This is first exhibited in our early years known as the “terrible two’s”.
“I AM”, said the dust speck as we look to the stars proclaiming our individuality and demand to be recognized. There must be a level of internal conflict in any person who sincerely seeks the unity with their original source as they simultaneously put in tremendous efforts to build up the uniqueness of their humanity and work diligently towards being someone special who will be remembered for generations to come.
The concept of loving yourself is a valid one, of course we must be full of love, but if it comes at the cost of ignoring our spiritual reality and denying our human irrelevance in the long term of our spiritual life, then it is only a false image that must eventually fall apart.
However, if one becomes free of negative qualities on their human side, or at least accepts themselves as they are and is working on self improvement, then they are more guided by their spiritual side and can sincerely love themselves as they accept the human limitations but are sincerely working towards overcoming them.
We have two choices: we can honestly look at what we are, accept it and work to change, thus loving the fact that we are putting in effort and admire that devotion in our self, or we can put on blinders and ignore reality.
“If I do not look, I will not see. If I do not see, it is not there.” This works very well for many people and I have met a few with this attitude who are very happy people. I would not want to be that way, but it works for them. And, this is the point you must consider.
When choosing a path in life, a general attitude that you will take for the remainder of your human existence, you need to know what works for you? Neither I, nor anyone, can say with absolute certainly what is right or wrong. We can only say what we believe. I have my opinions, but until I die, I will never know for sure, even if I do know it at that time, what is really right.
It is actually quite easy to find out what is right for you. Are you happy and is your life better than it was last year? If the answer is yes, then you are on the right path for you. If the answer is no, then you need to change. The trick is, have you answered honestly?
One other point to consider is that if you love something then you will not see a reason to change it, hence, it will remain the same. If you dislike something, then you will work to change it. This is the danger of convincing yourself that you love yourself when you have many flaws you dislike. The result is that you do not change and then one day, when you are old and tired, you may be very disappointed.
My view is that I can love the part of me that is eternal and spiritual, then objectively see all the qualities of my character, and rather than love any part of it, just dislike the parts that are not in harmony with the person I want to be.
This way I mix loving myself with dislike of the flaws and the love propels me to make the changes in my character in the hope that one day I will be worthy of loving both the human and spiritual parts of my being. My guess is that will be the best day of my life.