Self-love seems to be forgotten in today’s world, but I trust that it’s not lost. Ken is very clear about the fact that every new level of development transcends and includes the previous level. So when I have been able to love myself before moving to the level, where I can love my family, I still have that ability somewhere deep inside. When I look around and see how much help there is to learn to love yourself, I know I’m not alone with this.
The characteristics of the level, where I can love my family, are adaption of the behavior acceptable to my family and the ability to sacrifice my desires for the needs of my family. It’s my assumption that I have embraced both of those aspects very deeply in early age. Being the oldest, and a girl, makes me suppose that letting my younger siblings to have their ways more often than mine was something I grew to believe to be acceptable and desired behavior.
I have been talking with friends, who are either the only child or have older siblings, and they have similar challenges in loving themselves. So the issue lies deeper in our culture. Selfishness is widely condemned and criticized, and I agree it is a dead-end when applied to relationships. But I feel that the baby of self-love was tossed out with the bathwater of selfishness.
When I learned that selfish behavior was unacceptable to my family, I wasn’t taught appropriate ways to love myself to adapt instead. Not sharing my toys, or the toy I was playing with, with my younger siblings, caused a negative reaction from my mom, which taught me that it wasn’t good to want things for myself. Lately I have found out that it’s extremely difficult for me to set goals or state my desires. That would be selfish!
There is a way to love myself, without being selfish, and it is transcended and included in the love for others. When I love and care for others, I can in the same time do the same for myself as well. All I need to do is to remember how. It cannot be and I won’t allow it to be a forlorn attempt. Just being aware of this puts my brain into work to figure it out.