First, we must define what it means to love ourselves. In order to fully love ourselves, to truly love ourselves, we have to honestly look at ourselves – look at all our flaws, all our character defects, all our shameful, hidden parts, our shadow, our compulsive urges, our dirty needs. We have to look at all of those shameful parts of ourselves and fully, completely accept ourselves, with all our imperfections.
When we fully accept and love ourselves, exactly as we are, then we connect with our heart, connect with our emotional core. Our heart, our emotional core, is in turn our connection to Source, the Universe, Spirit, whatever you want to call it.
Once we’re connected with our heart, and thereby connected with pure, universal, unconditional love, then we naturally, organically, automatically love and accept everyone around us, with all of their flaws, defects, and imperfections.
There’s another requirement to truly love ourselves and connect to our hearts: we must heal our wounds, and process and integrate our repressed emotions. Those wounds and those repressed emotions block us off from our heart, disconnect us from our emotional core, and cut us off from feeling our connection to universal love.
When those wounds are healed, when we honestly look at ourselves and our shadows, then we understand how our wounds cause us to create defense mechanisms and coping strategies that prevent us from opening to, connecting with, and loving others. Once we understand, heal, and resolve those wounds, then we can dismantle our defense mechanisms and coping strategies. Then, in all of our interactions, we can love and accept people as they are; we can connect to others genuinely from our hearts, instead of connecting through the defense mechanisms and coping strategies.
When we fully love ourselves, then we no longer continue to perpetuate the wounds that were inflicted on us. We no longer act out the unhealthy relationship patterns that we learned from our environment, from our caregivers, from our family, from our peers… from all of our collective life experiences.
When we love ourselves, we no longer need to continue to act out those unhealthy relationship patterns. We no longer have to continue to inflict pain on others. We can spread love to others, helping them to heal and resolve their own wounds.
This is how we stop intergenerational trauma, break these cycles of perpetually inflicting pain on each other, or pain on ourselves – by healing the wounds that drive those patterns and learning to love ourselves.
When we are able to create and surround ourselves with harmonious relationships and interactions, relationships built on trust, cooperation, and mutual benefit, then we are able to act consciously, as conscious humans.
When we’re wounded, when we’re in pain, when we’re stressed out, we’re more likely to act out of unconscious, unhealthy defense mechanisms. When we’re whole, when we love ourselves, then we can break out of those unconscious patterns and consciously choose to spread love, consciously create relationships of cooperation and mutual benefit.
Imagine a family like this: the parents have healed their wounds, integrated their repressed emotions, and they can raise their children with unconditional love. They can break cycles of intergenerational trauma and raise healthy, whole children who never lose their connection to their heart.
We all are born connected to our hearts, we all begin whole, we all begin feeling our place in the universe, feeling our connection to universal love, to Source. The wounds, the repressed emotions that we accumulate in life, these teach us to close off our hearts to protect ourselves.
In families that have healed themselves, with parents who have healed their wounds, they no longer perpetuate those wounds on their children. They raise children who are healthy and connected to themselves.
Now imagine whole communities like that, whole communities of adults committed to breaking the cycles of pain. Whole communities of people connected by mutually beneficial, cooperative relationships.
Imagine larger and larger communities, states, nations, the whole world. Imagine the whole world full of people who have healed their wounds and no longer need to lash out at others, no longer instinctively distrust others.
This is how we can move away from world of division, a world of selfish competition, a world of continued cycles of hurt and pain, where hurt people lash out at others, creating more hurt people, who continue to lash out at others. By healing ourselves, we break those cycles. We no longer lash out at others.
Additionally, when we examine and understand our wounds, when we heal and integrate the repressed emotions around those wounds, then those wounds no longer drive our compulsive urges; urges to hurt ourselves with drugs, alcohol, overeating, overworking, or urges to last out and hurt others.
It’s the unhealed wounds within us that create predators: people so deeply wounded, so cut off from their hearts, that all they know is spreading pain to others. All they know is pain, so all they can create is pain, all they can express is pain. That’s where we get sexual predators, child abusers, and other monsters – they come from those repeated cycles of violence and pain.
And there may be some people who are so lost in their pain that in this life, they may not be able to heal those wounds; they may need to be kept separate from society. But if we isolate them in loving, caring environments that do not continue to inflict more pain on them (as our current prison system does), then actual repentance and reform can occur. To eliminate that kind of violence from our world, we need to stop inflicting that kind of violence as punishment, no matter how much our wounded hearts cry out for vengeance. For vengeance only perpetuates the cycles of violence, without providing any benefit to those survivors of vicious acts of violence.
In this world full of people who have healed their wounds, we’re no longer driven by these unconscious urges for more and more and more. Those same unhealed wounds are what drive conspicuous consumption and drive us to buy more and more stuff. When we heal our wounds, when we love ourselves, we realize that buying more stuff, taking more trips, having more extreme experiences, etc, aren’t going to fix us, aren’t going to fill the emptiness inside, aren’t going to fill those wounds. When we love ourselves, we won’t be driven to do those things to excess. Because it’s those excesses of consumption that are driving the climate crisis.
Corporate leaders who have healed their wounds, who are in touch with their hearts, will no longer run their companies focused solely on next quarter’s profits. Corporate leaders whose wounds are healed, who are surrounded by relationships of mutual cooperation, they can work together to create new, creative solutions to solve climate crisis, world hunger, and all the critical dangers our planet is facing.
Political leaders who have healed their wounds and are in touch with their hearts, who are surrounded by mutually beneficial, cooperative relationships, these leaders can work together to create a just society. A society without systemic racism, without systemic patriarchy, societies that are not based on the domination of the weak by the strong, domination of the powerless by the powerful.
Those political leaders, those corporate leaders, when their wounds are healed, when they’re in touch with their hearts, when they feel the universal love within themselves, they’ll no longer use their power for their own selfish benefit.
That is how loving ourselves can save the world.
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