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Why We Must Foster Self Love

When you know you’re the light of the world and you use your powerful mind for the highest good, you’re well on your way to living with Self-love. What’s the love we’re talking about? Not romantic love. Not a conditional love. Not a love that’s based on getting or approving.

This is the divine love from which we were created, expressed from one light to another.

If we rely solely on our ego mind, we won’t find the fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy that we seek. We’ll always be engaged in frustration, depression, dissatisfaction, and anger. I’m capitalizing the S in Self-love because it recognizes the light that we are through our higher mind, with the help of Spirit.

You cannot hate yourself and love others. It’s not possible. So the first step in loving the world—and bringing it peace— has to be in loving yourself. There is no other way.

We often think of Self-love as spending a day at the spa, indulging in a mani-pedi, and eating a kale salad. But that’s just an attempt to take a break from the chaos in our fear- based minds.

The definition of Self-love is different. It means taking care of your Self by 1) consistently and intentionally living from your higher mind, and 2) trusting that, in conjunction with Source, you’re expressing your light to create the highest and best for all. That’s why it’s so important to know you’re the light and how powerful your higher mind is.

Self-love means talking to Source over and over again to remember and use your unique gifts and graces. As you do, you recognize your Self. Without this, you can intellectually know you’re the light but still live in the darkness. You can know you have a higher mind but stubbornly ignore it. But when you foster Self-love, you intentionally choose your inner light and higher mind for your good and the good of others.

Let’s take a look at essential elements of Self-love.

Self-love means trusting that Source knew what It was doing in creating you. Rather than looking to other people for cues about how to be acceptable, you come face to face with your best Self and say, “Hey, I know you! You’ve got that incredible gift for listening.” Or bringing out the best in children. Or playing the clarinet. Or cleaning out closets. In other words, you honor your unique expression of love and light on this planet, no matter what anyone else thinks. You stand in the grandeur of who you are, knowing you don’t need to apologize or ask permission.

It’s important to note that there’s no fear or anger in this. You’re not isolating yourself and saying, “Screw everyone. I’m going to do it my way.” Instead, you’re simply being your Self with nothing to prove. “I’m going to be who I am, and I hope everyone else will, too.”

Self-love comes from your commitment to use your mind for the highest good, which will bring you into right alignment with yourself and remind you that Self-love is your natural state. Everything outside you will continue to change, but the light that you are will not. This allows you to trust in:

It’s essential to build Self-love because the relationship you have with your Self and God will shape all your other relationships and interactions.

This runs much deeper than simply being in a decent mood or feeling good about yourself. Without Self-love, you’re always subject to self-doubt, beating yourself up, comparing, and focusing on your mistakes instead of your strengths. And that’s like constantly bobbing around on stormy waters, being buffeted by the winds. No wonder you feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

But when you live from Self-love, your foundation is solid. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world does, says, or thinks of you. You can trust the light that you are.


Imagine that a three-year-old says to you, “I’m bad. I don’t deserve to be loved.” How would you respond? Without hesitation, you would scoop up that three-year-old in your arms and say, “Of course you deserve to be loved. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!”

You would have no doubt about this. Despite any misbehavior on the child’s part, you’d have pure conviction and clarity when stating the obvious: Of course, you deserve to be loved!

Your ego is like that three-year-old.

It has taken on messages, programming, and self-talk that say it’s bad and not worthy of joy, peace, love, success, abundance, or well-being. But that’s not true.

So here’s what I want you to do: Start reacting to your own ego just the way you would to that three-year-old.

This does two things: It shows you how preposterous the ego’s claims are, and it affirms that there’s no need to live according to the ego’s limited view of who you are—not when you’re the light of the world.


Loving your Self means deciding what’s going to have power over you and what’s not. This comes down to what you value. If you value wrongly, A Course in Miracles says you won’t have peace. Value rightly, and joy is yours.

This means you have to make a choice about what you want to rule your life. Will it be anger? Blame? Overwhelm? Illness? Scarcity? Poverty? Oppression? Despair? Or will it be hopefulness? Forgiveness? Acceptance? Gratitude? Prosperity? Abundance? Faith?

For instance, is your anger toward politicians going to rule you? Or are you going to respond to their actions by expressing your light? When your kids leave their dirty dishes in the sink, are you going to react with snarkiness or find a peaceful resolution? If a coworker tries to sabotage you, are you going to retaliate or have an honest conversation?

Love your Self enough to value rightly, because what you choose as your overriding ideals will determine the quality of your life. You can be in what seem to be life’s lowest circumstances. But if you climb onto a higher ideal, you can soar.

Adapted, and reprinted with permission from Hampton Roads Publishing, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, Be the Light that You Are by Debra Landwehr Engle is available wherever books and ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at or 800-423-7087.

This excerpt was featured in the July 14th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.