I feel the need to do a post about 'self-love' after reading a post by EM on the topic.
I also feel the need to call out EM on the sheer amount of BS he is posting of late, and done in the usual "I know everything.. I have 40 years experience blah blah" fashion.
In his latest post he writes that the idea that one has to learn to love oneself first before loving others is wrong, not correct.
"There is an old saying that has gained a lot of believers in the West that you cannot love anyone until you first love yourself.
Not only is this overly simplistic, but from my experience, it is just wrong.
How does a toddler learn how to love him or her self? Easy, by being loved by the mother or father. At about age three, the toddler has reached the developmental stage where it can .."
It is very tempting to assign an external cause to our lack of self love, be that external cuase parents, teachers, living environment etc.
But as Gotama Buddha pointed out about 2500 years ago, training seems to be required in aquainting ourselves with the real cause of our suffering, lack of love, etc.--> craving, clinging and seeking externally. It is no coincidence that most schools in Buddhism, Vedanta and Eastern mind-related schools train in metta, loving-kindness and compassion for a decent amount of time while also training in attention and inquiry.
The reason for this is because love, self-love, starts at home. We can blame all sorts of events that happened at age three.. but really, loving oneself has to start here and now, in this minute with me first. If I've never encountered the feeling of love, compassion and goodwill, least of all for myself, how could I possibly offer that non-existent feeling or goodwill to an external object or person?
Even the argument that a toddler learns love from his/her parents, may seem true, but in actual fact, if one observes toddlers in horrific home environments, they are fully capable of love, wonder and gentleness despite never having learned from any external source. Self-love, love is actually our true nature, as has been pointed out countless times by sages in all schools.
Training in self-love MUST begin with oneself first. There are many practices that work on training a practitioner in first evoking and coming to know the already existent (but hidden) feeling of loving-kindness, and then once this is mastered, offering it to others and external objects. (External objects and others, which also happen to be internal representations in actual fact-- there are no 'others' or 'things' outside of our own consciousness).
One does not need a lover, mutual love, peer, or even a living teacher to learn how to evoke, come to know, and eventually be a conscious source of love, self-love. "Your earnestness will take you there".