As odd as it may sound, we truly can’t love others unless we first love ourselves. It’s a bit like math. The depth to which we connect with others correlates to the degree to which we love our selves.
And the greatest obstacle to self-love is a felt sense of unworthiness or inadequacy. It’s there whenever we think we aren’t ______ enough. Thankfully we can learn to infuse more self-acceptance into daily life, which increases self-love while lowering dissatisfaction.
One of the best ways to cultivate it is through loving-kindness mediation. Start by putting your hands over your heart. Feel the warmth and gentle pressure. Notice your chest rhythmically rising and falling beneath your hands. Now, say to yourself:
May I be kind to myself.
May I accept myself as I am.
May I be happy and free from suffering.*
May I learn to live with ease and well-being.*
*For the last one or two lines, use whatever words speak to you such as: May I be safe. May I forgive myself. May I safely endure this pain. May I find peace in my heart.