Here's the deal.
When you think in terms of "I" that is you, right here and now, whenever and wherever that might be.
That which thinks "I" is your consciousness, and that's always here and now, in one place, it can't ever be anywhere else.
Wait a minute, you say, I can remember when I was ten, standing at my birthday party. That wasn't here and now?
It becomes here and now if "you" are standing there. It's still you, or if I go to my birthday party when I was ten, that would be "I" right there.
"You" and "I" can only be in one place at any one time, and that makes it structurally impossible for me to love "I" or for you to love "you".
I can love you, and you can love me.
That can be done and it is easy.
We can love things that aren't "I".
And therein lies the solution to how to love your self.
We can take up a position of consciousness where we can love someone or something who isn't us, and this someone or something can be, for example, our left hand.
Look at your left hand and have a go at loving it. Thanking it for all its hard work, all those years on your behalf. All the things its touched so you didn't have to!
Can you love the hand?
Give it a kiss, stroke it kindly.
There you go - you've loved a bit of you. There is now 5% of you that is more loved than it was a few moments ago.
If you were now to take all your clothes off, get some lovely expensive aromatherapy oil and start lovingly anointing yourself, from the toes upward, loving all the bits of you deeply and profoundly as you go (and make sure you don't discriminate!) you'll feel whoosy with love by the time you get to the tips of your hair.
And now on to other ways to increase the love.
Remember remembering standing at my tenth birthday party?
There's a young aspect of me there, flushed with excitement and quite overcome by all the activity.
A random child, ten years of age.
Can you love her?
Have a go.
If you find it difficult to love on command, try picking out something loveable about this child. Perhaps you like her long brown hair, or her flashing brown eyes. Perhaps you like her dress with the flowers on. Perhaps the fact her nose is red from spending too much time in the sun makes you laugh. Perhaps you like her voice, high and clear. Have a go at finding her fascinating, it might help with finding a little love for the child.
Now, over to your own aspect.
I don't know what your tenth birthday was like; perhaps it was spent in a dungeon or it was forgotten. Perhaps there were many people or none; only you know that.
This time though, stand there as YOU now and watch the aspect of you, watch that child. Try and love it, best you can.
Perhaps at some point the child will turn and smile at you in return, love you back.
But that's advanced, you don't have to go that far.
But now, there's more love for your self.
That's the trick with self love.
You can't love yourself, but you can love others. I think this basic truth got a bit perverted into "you shouldn't love yourself, ONLY others" at some point; perhaps they wanted to say, "Don't even try, it doesn't work ..." and got their words mixed up. Who is to know!
In the meantime, you can do much more than love an aspect from many years ago when they were still all innocent and sweet.
Aspects exist all the time, and as our consciousness moves on and on through time, there is an aspect born every micro-milli-myngo-minso-second.
So you can have a go at loving the aspect of you that existed when you started to read this article, a few minutes ago.
By all means, step into that memory but not step inside of the aspect, step into the room and you are here and now, watching the aspect then starting to read the article.
Have a go at loving them.
A tip: Criticising them for their appearance, state or anything at all makes loving so much harder, so don't. As before, focus on something you like about the aspect. It's a global thing, works with all aspects, even yours, and no matter what.
Now, there are many applications and ways in which you can improve the loving of yourself.
For example, there are the future aspects. How can you prove your love to those?
You know those shows on TV where the bedraggled exhausted detective comes home, starving hungry, opens the fridge and finds only a gone off Chinese takeout leftover and a gone off carton of milk inside?
His past aspects really didn't love him, or if they did, they didn't show it.
Surely they must have known that the time will come when he would come home, bedraggled and exhausted, and he would open the fridge - and what did they put in there for him to find?
The thing is, to do nice things for yourself is tricky. It may even be impossible, structurally, just as impossible as loving yourself, or jumping over your own shadow.
However, to do a nice thing for a future bedraggled aspect, now that's a different story.
That would be our bedraggled detective, opening the fridge, and finding inside a beer of his favourite brand, a plate of delicious food, cold starters to be eaten right away, and another container which is to be re-heated in the microwave and contains a hearty meal, and there's a little note on top which says, "Cheer up Harry, you done a good job today and we're proud of you! Continue to serve and protect! xxx Harry"
Wow. How would that make the detective feel?
Loved? Served? Protected?
Yeah well, that's how to do loving yourself in practice.
And you really should take it to the extreme.
Allow yourself to fall in love with your aspects.
Buy them flowers. Buy them gifts and hide them so they will find them in the future. Go the extra mile, show that you care.
Do unto your aspects as you would want to be done by.
And that's how you love yourself.
Dr Silvia Hartmann
Author, Events Psychology: How To Understand Yourself & Other People