You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Self-acceptance, it can prove to be one of the most difficult paths we must walk. It is the warrior’s way, the authentic way for us to know peace and enlightenment. An important core philosophy in Buddhism is self-love. Buddha teaches that you love the self before extending love to others. In other words, before you are able to give or attract love, you must have the capacity to embrace yourself. Patanjali defines how we can be lead astray in this quest for acceptance of Self in Yoga Sutra II.6. He defines it as false identity, which occurs when we identify with the tools of perception instead of the true Self. This is known as Asmita, which is often translated as “ego.” Asmita transpires when we mistake the mind, body, emotions, and senses (the tools of perception) for our true, authentic Self. It’s easy for the Self to become obscured by the whirlwind of the mind that pushes us to have more, it is the part of us that we identify with our job title, our status, or the way we look, and it keeps us from connecting with and abiding in the comfort and peace of our own true nature. It is only when we are able to sit with our authentic nature that we may begin to find and spread genuine love and compassion into the world. This does not mean to strive only for your own interests, that would be ego, but to love self just as you exist, a divinely inspired human being. You will then be better able to embrace the concerns of other people and forms of life for the benefit of all life. Self-acceptance is the first step on the path of any belief system, for we must endeavor to be complete and come from our unchanging Self in order to extend love and compassion into the world. One can certainly grieve changes in life, like the loss of a job or aging, but one must simply understand that none of this affects who you are at your core. When you remain better connected to your unchanging Self, you are better able to act more often from that quiet knowing place. I think I like my aging 50 plus year old skin better already! How about you, what will you like about yourself today? Find something to like about your authentic Self, ignite your inner light and spread it into the world today.