Bring a deep, enthusiastic “yes” to whatever feels like the center of your experience right now. Not with your thoughts, but with your feelings.

Go on. Try it. You can’t do it wrong.

If you have a thought rattling around in your head that’s taking up a lot of attention, that’s the center of your experience in this moment. Bring a deep, enthusiastic “yes” to that. Take it in the exact opposite direction of rejection, and embrace it fully.

If you have an emotion, if you’re looking at something interesting, if you’re just feeling your body, whatever’s in the spotlight of your attention in the present moment, bring a full, unequivocal “yes” to that experience. Not to the thing itself, but to your experience of it. If you’re thinking about a murderer, you’re not sitting there going “Yeah, murderers!”, you’re bringing a deep, penetrating “yes” to your experience of thinking about the murderer.

If you are having difficulty fully yessing what’s in the center of your experience, bring a deep, experiential “yes” to that difficulty. If you’re having some elements of rejection or revulsion toward what happens to be at the center of your experience in a given moment, bring a deep, enthusiastic “yes” to your experience of that rejection or revulsion. You will notice the rejection or revulsion relaxing the more “yes” you can bring to it.

Practice doing this in each moment. Keep turning your attention to whatever feels more or less like the core of your experience, no matter how insignificant or petty it may seem at first glance, and give it a full embrace of felt affirmation with 100 percent of your being. If there is resistance to this embrace, embrace that resistance with 100 percent of your being. Practice doing this from moment to moment to moment throughout your day.

This doesn’t mean accepting anything anyone tries to impose upon you, and it doesn’t mean ceasing to say “No” with your voice. You can say “No” with your mouth while fully and deeply yessing that experience in the present moment. It simply means making a practice of bringing a deep “yes” to the core of your being in each moment.

This is the direct path to self-love.

Many people say the words “I just need to learn to love myself,” or intuit that many of their inner difficulties stem from self-hatred, but putting self-love into practice is a confusing ordeal that people rarely seem to know how to navigate. If they were raised in a loving environment, they tend to do it naturally, and if they were raised in an environment full of rejection, they tend to internalize that rejection.

The reason self-love is such a confusing ideal to put into practice despite one’s ability to intuit its central value is because our society is full of so much confusion about what the word “love” means, and because there is no actual, tangible “self” that can be found anywhere in experience. Two things:

1 – The most useful definition of love I’ve been able to come up with is a deep, enthusiastic yes to something. It’s the exact opposite of total rejection, which is the experience of “No, all no to all of this.” It’s the experience of “Oh! All yes to all of this!” It’s as simple as that, and it’s a skill you can get better at.

2 – When I say there is no self that can be found anywhere in experience, I mean no matter how hard you look within your own field of experience you’ll never find a solid thing in the here and now that can accurately be labeled “me”. You’ll find sensory impressions, feelings, thoughts, and a mental story about an individual with a particular name who’s led a particular kind of life, but an actual self only exists linguistically as an abstract concept we invented to differentiate one human body from the others in our speech. I am saying “I” and “you” in this essay, but these are just concepts of distinction which only exist out of linguistic convention in a totally boundless and inseparable field of experience.

Self-love in practice is therefore the deep, felt yessing of the core of this swirling, shifting, shapeless light show that is the human experience.

As you become more skillful at loving the core of your experience, you’ll notice yourself becoming more skillful at loving everything that comes up, including family, co-workers, animals, trees, music, the wind, the ground beneath your feet, and the sun upon your face. It’s like pouring water upon the point of a cone: by pouring love into the center of your experience, you ensure that it will spread outward and everywhere.

If you make a diligent practice of this, rejection will find less and less purchase within you, and you will quickly transform into a deeply loving and joyful being. And from there, miracles can happen. And a new world can be birthed through you.




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14 responses to “How To Love Yourself”

  1. Caitlin, This article was great! It had practical ways to develop self love. It was succinct and beautifully inspiring. I just wanted to thank you so much for writing this! I loved it!

  2. This is an extremely amazing article how to love yourself. We need to stop blaming ourselves and start to be happy with who we are.

  3. Why am I not surprised that the basis of everything is Emotion—–to hell with reason!

  4. I love you so much! Peace to you and Tim!

  5. The Real Self is hard to pin point because it is the intangible limitless Awareness and Self is the only Reality.

  6. Dear caitlin your voice is much needed thank you. This video explains it.

  7. Those more interested in Caitlin’s somewhat convoluted, although appreciated by me at least, misappropriation of the Buddha’s teachings on mindfullness may want to read these free books by a monk who has probably translated, and commented on the Pali Cannon more extensively than any other monk. Mindfullness practice, without the ethical, and moral practices of Buddhism, can be not only nearly impossible, but also rather counterproductive.

  8. “How To Love Yourself” Useful, Caitlin, thank you.
    And thank you for writing no BS, too.

  9. “When the truth is found to be lies and all the joy within you dies don’t you need somebody to love?? You’d better find somebody to love.”- Grace Slick, The Jefferson Airplane, Somebody to Love, 1967

  10. “Love is metaphysical gravity.” Buckminster Fuller

  11. Funny you’d say it’s difficult to pinpoint the self, because I’ve always felt this unique one and only conscience that’s me, that never quits and which carries all these powers of pleasurable manipulation through the brain and limbs, and I’ve always felt this great huge responsibility to harness these powers in an equilibrium that will not allow harm to come to me neither to my environment, which indirectly will bring harm to me.

  12. Maybe you don’t know it, Caitlin, but you are a child of the 1960s. After reading your article, I know that you would have loved to live in San Francisco during those years.

  13. Charles Robinson Avatar
    Charles Robinson

    Not exactly related to your post but I want to share this.
    Tulsi Gabbard – Thank God – has thrown her hat into the ring for the 2020 Presidential election. Cynicism about the US political scene and the President’s role in that corrupt scene aside, I very much like Tulsi Gabbard. And yes, who would support anyone who would join the Democratic or Republican party after knowing what they have become and the legislation they have passed? Who would support these entities who have placed hurtles to bar any citizen from challanging their premise and getting their name placed on the ballot? But, that being said, Tulsi Gabbard will actually draw me back once more into voting in the next Presidential election. Incremental change for the good is better, very much better, than none. My choice for her Vice-President? Rand Paul.

    1. A Tulsi Gabbard/Rand Paul ticket would certainly have a decent chance of winning…probably better than any other combination I can think of. I’ve liked both of them for years (and Ron Paul, as well), and was hoping that Tulsi would throw her hat in the ring for 2020. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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