Today you can take a great step toward a return to love by healing your relationship with yourself. Love for yourself is the key to loving others. Love begins with you. When your relationship with yourself is based on love and respect, your relationship with everything in life will change, including your relationships with the people you love.

How do you feel about yourself? Do you love, respect, and honor yourself? If the answer is no, that explains all the broken hearts you have had. When you don’t love, respect, and honor yourself, then you allow other people to treat you without love, respect, and honor. But once you learn to treat yourself with love, respect, and honor, there is no way that you will accept anything less from others. If someone wants to play an important role in your life as your friend or lover, husband or wife, then you already know what kind of person you want. It is obvious if that person is not what you want, and you have this awareness right from the beginning. Why? Because you are true to your integrity, and you no longer lie to yourself.

Integrity is the totality of yourself; it is what you really are, not what you believe about yourself or what you pretend to be. When you are true to your integrity, you never consciously go against yourself. You are honest with yourself, and you notice when someone shows you disrespect. If someone treats you disrespectfully, you have the clarity to say, “Hold it. I don’t like the way you are talking to me.” You put up a boundary right away because you won’t allow yourself to be abused. You create a clear system of boundaries with other people, and you also respect the boundaries that others put on you . . .

What do I mean by respect? If I’m in a relationship with you, I respect your choices; I will not try to control your choices. Because I love you, I allow you to be what you are. I don’t have to agree with you, but I respect every belief you have, every choice you make, because I love you the way you are. I also respect my own life, and I will not allow you to control my life.

If you don’t respect me, I will still love you, but that may be the end. The only way to save our relationship is to recover the respect, to communicate better, and to create new agreements with a new set of boundaries. In this way, the relationship can be healed.

Self-love is something completely different from selfishness. Selfishness says, “If you love me, you have to put up with all my emotional garbage, you have to put up with my anger, my judgments, and never leave me.” To tell others that you love them, and then to abuse them, is not love; it is selfishness. How can I love you and abuse you at the same time? For me to keep you, even if I am abusing you, is selfishness, not love.

Self-love gives you the power to break all the lies you were programmed to believelies that say, “I’m not good enough; I’m not beautiful enough; I’m not strong enough; I can’t make it.” With self-love, you are no longer afraid to face responsibilities in your life, to face problems and resolve them as soon as they arise. Why? Because you can trust yourself completely to make choices that support you, and you never set up circumstances that go against you.

With self-love, you enjoy your own presence. You enjoy what you see every time you look in the mirror, and the big smile on your face enhances your inner and outer beauty. With self-love, you don’t have to follow a false image of perfection or try to prove that you are good enough for love.

When you have self-love, you no longer live your life according to other people’s opinions. You don’t need other people to accept you or tell you how good you are, because you know what you are. With self-love, you aren’t afraid to share your love because your heart is completely open.

Today can be the day when you experience the beauty of yourself. Today can be the day when you reconnect with your own spirit and express all the love in your heart. Focus your attention on what you are feeling in this moment. Feel the desire to be alive, the desire for love and joy, the desire to create something wonderful to share with others. The biggest mission you have is to make yourself happy, and to share your love, your joy, and your happiness.

don Miguel Ruiz
   from, Prayers: A Communion with our Creator

Love Begins With You

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