People have become accustomed to a shallow perception of what is talked about in the Holy books. At first glance only two main commandments exist. Firstly — a full, absolute love for the Creator: «Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might». The second commandment — «Thou shalt love your neighbour as yourself…” Many believers build their lives in accordance with these two commandments. However, for some reason, problems arise.
In the universe, everything comes in threes. Everything appears in a tricyclic process, otherwise there would be no growth. It turns out that the second commandment holds in itself a third. The commandment „Thou shalt love your neighbour as yourself…” assumes that a person must first come to love himself, and only then — their close ones as himself.
Therefore, the most important commandment of the universe sounds like this: first is to love God above all else, second to love yourself, and, finally, to love your neighbour as yourself. One must love the Creator, one must love the Creator within oneself, and one must love the Creator in others.
It is in accordance with these commandments that we should build our lives. When a person understands that there is something higher that unites two opposites, there is something higher than our human ‘I’, then in a critical situation he will be able to sacrifice himself for the sake of others. A person must love himself, take care of himself, but may forget about himself and sacrifice himself for the sake of another.
If in following the commandments “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” and „Thou shalt love your neighbor”, a person stops loving himself, then utlimately, the lack of love for himself transforms into a lack of love both towards his neighbour, and towards God; in other words, into an inability to love at all. Suppressing oneself results in an inner turmoil and aggression — in the end a person stops loving others and loves only himself. The more a person puts himself down, the more aggressive and ruthless he then become towards others. This in turn sooner or later becomes an aggression towards God.
Once we have come to understand the relationship between the three main commandments, we then need to decide, what does it really mean, to love oneself?
We are Divine in our essence, and first and foremost love for ourselves means love for our Divine ‘Self.’ In practice this is explained by the fact that we should not think poorly of ourselves, despise ourselves, experience fear when thinking about the future and feel despondent. Jesus Christ said that God is our Father, and we are a part of Him. For this reason we should not have these negative feelings, as they are in essence aggression towards God and are ultimately killing the love in our own hearts. This is unacceptable.
A person — is first and foremost the soul, then — the mind, and lastly — the body. Therefore, loving youself means defending and caring for your soul. Caring for one’s soul — is safeguarding the love in one’s soul, whatever may happen. To live in accordance with the commandments means caring about our morality, our kindheartedness and to try to better our character. One needs to limit our animal instincts and develop the higher instinct of aspiring towards God. A person who only cares for his body and mind and forgets about the soul, does not love himself. Secondly, one must care for one's mind and the development of our consciousness and talents, and thereby our destiny. It is necessary to help yourself as a human to blossom, achieve your goals and realize your desires. Under no circumstances should a person bury their talent in the ground. Caring for the body is necessary, but it is important not to worship the body, so that care for the body will not come to the foreground.
There is a danger here that one should be aware of. Being a giving person is a way for a person to evolve. In order to gain energy it must first be given. But you should only be a giving person while you soul continues to experience happiness. If a person gives away too much energy, they deplete themselves. This is also a manifestation of a lack of love towards yourself. Sometimes the price might be your health or even life.
How does love for yourself differ from selfishness? The main difference is that a selfish person loves their instincts, worships them while one who truly loves himself restrains his instincts and constantly works at changing his character, crossing from their animal nature to human nature and then the Divine. In such a case love for yourself does not turn into attachment and worship of yourself — the way it does in a selfish person. If we understand that love towards yourself is first and foremost love for God, who is within us, then by definition there will be no space for attachment, and love towards his human nature in this case will be similar to the love towards an imperfect child, who needs to be taught and who needs to be cared for.
The subject of love for youself is especially important for women. Lack of love for yourself, dissatisfaction with yourself, gloomy thoughts about your future feed into a destructive program towards your own children. When a child is forming (before conception and during pregnancy), a mother’s emotions form her children's future worldview and character. If there is despondency, lack of love for herself or her fate, this self destructive program grows in the child with the result that they will be ill and their body will suffer.
Many women who have read about this [in my previous work] are certain that aggression towards love mostly manifests through grievances and hatred towards a man. However lack of love towards yourself and your fate is much more dangerous. This process is imperceptible and is difficult to understand and to notice. The process may manifest as depression, a loss of meaning in your life, a loss of belief and faith, disappointment in the person we love, disappointment in yourself, total inner passivity, a reluctance to do anything and the renunciation of a dream and higher desires. If a person merely entertains a negative thought about their future, then this is already a slow suicide.
On a subtle level lack of love towards yourself and reluctance to live is one and the same. If I do not love myself this means that, in accordance with the laws of the subconscious, I must die. In our subconscious there are only two positions: either I love something — and then this has a right to exist, or I do not love something — and then this must not be, it must disappear.
Modern psychotherapists say that we have stopped loving ourselves. However they do not understand that this is the result of our having stopped loving the world around us, our parents and other people. Renunciation of the person we love when they have hurt us, insulted or humiliated us looks like a willingness to die on a subtle level.
Love cools in the soul of a person who has forgotten God. We stop loving God when we submerge ourselves fully into the human value system and we put our aspiration towards prosperity first, making our instincts the priority.
The Thesis “Thou shalt love your neighbour as yourself…” - is a noble thesis, but it becomes catastrophic and extremely dangerous if it is a person’s main thesis. For us God’s main competitor is the person we love. It is necessary to understand the meaning of Jesus Christ’s words ‘A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household,’ and only after that is it possible to speak of the need of loving our neighbour.
When the thesis »Thou shalt love your neighbour as yourself…” becomes the priority, a person becomes susceptible to the tendency of pride and loss of love and aspiration towards God. Religion says that desire is bad, that we should rid ourselves of desire with the help of prayer, fasting, and so on. However, nobody is saying that love for our close ones may also be bad. Nothing has been written about the root of sin — attachment to this world, and most of all to our close ones. This is the very thing that becomes the source of desire and suffering, which brings about illnesses and death. Our close one must be loved, our close one must be cared for, but at the same time we cannot forget that in so doing there is a big risk of losing our love for God.
In another person we must first love and see God — for this reason we cannot judge people, think poorly of them. We need to understand that care for the soul of our close one should be the priority. We have become accustomed to thinking of care as help directed only towards the body. We think that we need to supply our close ones with money, clothing, dedicate our time, effort and sacrifice our interests. All of this we call «care». However, sometimes care is denial, restricting the person in some way and taking a strict attitude towards them. This becomes care for their soul. We need to help our close ones experience love towards God and help them hold back their animal instincts.
In any situation of loss we must safeguard and increase our love towards God, accept His will and safeguard our love for ourselves and others as we all carry God within ourselves. Without this it isn’t possible to enter a new future.