Had we not loved ourselves at all, we could never have been obliged to love anything. So that self-love is the basis of all love. – Thomas Traherne (1636-1674), British clergyman, poet, mystic. Fourth Century, no. 55, Centuries (written c. 1672, publ. 1908)

“I wasn’t loved as a child and my family doesn’t understand me” exclaims Teresa, the passenger sitting next to me on my flight to Italy last Saturday. I looked at her eyes and I saw an angry glare. I looked at my heart and I saw that point in my life when I said: “henceforth, I will love myself!”

We should stop blaming our childhood for our misery and stop looking for someone to blame for our feelings of insecurity or unhappiness.

A perfect family doesn’t exist, same thing for any kind of relationships. So what can we do? If you can’t fix it, stop trying. You do not have the magic powder or elixir that will make everyone happy. No one does. Accept them as they are.

But, how can you accept them if you do not know how to accept who you are?

Try a long, hard stare in the bathroom mirror. Do you love what you see in the mirror? Does it show up in how you care for yourself and go about enjoying the gift of life and all the opportunities for Love it has to offer in your daily happening?

Come on, take that mirror and make a heart to heart talk with yourself.

I did that…from that day on, it was self love that has saved me from depression. It was self love that has finally pushed me to seek and stay in a healthy relationship. It was self love that stopped me from spiraling down a well which depth was unknown. It was self love that had picked me up from the ground that I thought I would never stand on again. It was self love that made me discover the immense love of God for me.

I am truly thankful that at a time when in spite of genuinely believing that I had lost everything, I was still able to produce within myself, a tiny dose of feeling people disdainfully address as self love, because it was this feeling that made me who I am today.

Love or narcissism?

If still, the mirror doesn’t work for you, try this magical mantra that you can repeat to yourself at all family/relationships dysfunctions. Memorize it and keep it close at heart: “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”

I just received an email from Teresa, thanking me for this mantra…and has decided to make an appointment with herself!

Self-love quotes to follow…

I think that when we look for love courageously, it reveals itself, and we wind up attracting even more love. If one person really wants us, everyone does. But if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.” – Paulo Coelho (Mystical author, one of Brazil’s most successful novelist)

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and feature.” – Viktor Frankl (Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist. 1905-1997)

Don’t forget to love yourself.” – Soren Kierkegaard (Danish Philosopher and Theologian, generally recognized as the first existentialist philosopher. 1813-1855)

We are wont to condemn self-love; but what we really mean to condemn is contrary to self-love. It is that mixture of selfishness and self-hate that permanently pursues us, that prevents us from loving others, and that prohibits us from losing ourselves.2 – Paul Valery (French Poet, Essayist and Critic, 1871-1945)

If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.” – Barbara De Angelis, American researcher on relationships and personal growth

It is this unquiet self-love that renders us so sensitive. The sick man, who sleeps ill, thinks the night long. We exaggerate, from cowardice, all the evils which we encounter; they are great, but our sensibility increases them. The true way to bear them is to yield ourselves up with confidence to God.” – FRANCOIS DE SALIGNAC FENELON, French theologian and author
(1651 – 1715)

Be yourself, don’t take anyone’s shit, and never let them take you alive.” – Gerard Way

If we listen to our self-love, we shall estimate our lot less by what it is than by what it is not; shall dwell upon its hindrances and be blind to its possibilities; and, comparing it only with imaginary lives, shall indulge in flattering dreams of what we should do if we had but power, and give if we had but wealth, and be if we had no temptations.” – JAMES MARTINEAU
(1805 – 1900)

Self-love is the instrument of our preservation; it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind. It is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and we must conceal it”. – VOLTAIRE (FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET VOLTAIRE) French historian, dramatist, writer and poet (1694 – 1778)

To love one’s self is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – OSCAR WILDE (OSCAR FINGAL O’FLAHERTIE WILLS WILDE) Irish dramatist, poet and novelist, leader in esthetic movement (1854 – 1900)

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – BUDDHA (GAUTAMA BUDDHA) Indian religious leader (563 BC – 483 BC)

Oh, the incomparable contrivance of Nature, who has ordered all things in so even a method that wherever she has been less bountiful in her gifts, there she makes it up with a larger dose of self-love, which supplies the former deficits and makes all even.” – DESIDERIUS GERHARD ERASMUS, Dutch scholar, philosopher and writer (1465 – 1536)

If ordinary people complain that I speak too much of myself, I complain that they do not even think of themselves. – Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist.

Self-love seems so often unrequited. Anthony Powell (b. 1905), British novelist

Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism. – Sigmund Freud

Self-love is often rather arrogant than blind; it does not hide our faults from ourselves, but persuades us that they escape the notice of others. – Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), British author, lexicographer

He who is enamored of himself will at least have the advantage of being inconvenienced by few rivals. – G.C. (Georg Christoph) Lichtenberg (1742-1799), German physicist, philosopher. Notebook H, aph. 10, Aphorisms (written 1765-1799)

If anyone should want to know my name, I am called Leah. And I spend all my time weaving garlands of flowers with my fair hands, to please me when I stand before the mirror; my sister Rachel sits all the day long before her own, and never moves away. She loves to contemplate her lovely eyes; I love to use my hands to adorn myself: her joy is in reflection, mine in act. – Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Italian poet. “Purgatory, cto. 27, l. 100-8, The Divine Comedy (c. 1307-1321)

…feminism never harmed anybody unless it was some feminists. The danger is that the study and contemplation of ourselves may become so absorbing that it builds by slow degrees a high wall that shuts out the great world of thought. – Rheta Childe Dorr (1866-1948), U.S. journalist. A Woman of Fifty, 2nd. ed., ch. 16 (1924)

Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful, but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading.” – W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden (1907-1973), Anglo-American poet.

Self-love for ever creeps out, like a snake, to sting anything which happens … to stumble upon it.” – George Gordon Noel Byron (1788-1824), British poet

Withhold admiration from a narcissist and be disliked. Give it and be treated with indifference.”

The narcissist enjoys being looked at and not looking back.” – Mason Cooley (b. 1927), U.S. aphorist

It is possible to have a strong self-love without any self-satisfaction, rather with a self-discontent which is the more intense because one’s own little core of egoistic sensibility is a supreme care.” – George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian) Evans] (1819-1880), British novelist

As a character disorder, narcissism is the very opposite of strong self-love. Self-absorption does not produce gratification, it produces injury to the self; erasing the line between self and other means that nothing new, nothing other, ever enters the self; it is devoured and transformed until one thinks one can see oneself in the other and then it becomes meaningless. This is why the clinical profile of narcissism is not of a state of activity, but of a state of being. There are erased the demarcations, limits, and forms of time as well as relationship. The narcissist is not hungry for experiences, he is hungry for Experience. Looking for an expression or reflection of himself in Experience, he devalues each particular interaction or scene, because it is never enough to encompass who he is. The myth of Narcissus neatly captures this: one drowns in the self. it is an entropic state.” – Richard Sennett (b. 1943), U.S. social historian. The Actor Deprived of His Art, The Fall of the Public Man, Cambridge University Press (1977)

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