Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ask Parvati 13: I Suck. Please Love Me.

Self-Love and All That Fun Stuff

May 22, 2011

Dear Parvati,
I really want a life partner but just can’t seem to find the right person. I have been told I need to work on my self before I can find my life partner, but I must admit I don’t totally get why. Are we not supposed to grow with our partner? I feel like I need to be somehow perfect to attract the right person into my life. I find all this stressful so I thought you could shed some light on this. Thanks.

Thank you for the question. Most of us grow up with the idea that someone ‘out there’ will come along some day to fill us up. Mesmerized by fairy tale myths of a perfect prince or princess who will transform our lives into magic, we look (and perhaps are looking) for the one person who would make our lives perfect and bring us the happiness we feel we have been deeply missing.

Just like with all fairy tales, “real life” is something different. For the most part, what we commonly call love is some form of unspoken contractual relationships, where “if I act in a certain way, I will get this and that from you, and vice versa”. Contracts are not love but arrangements.

Getting real about love means learning to face our own lives and look at our values, our hopes, our dreams, our tender places, our relationships with friends, family and peers and most importantly, our relationship with ourselves.


Trying to find a lasting relationship feeling lousy about oneself is like trying to catch rain with a sieve. We simply don’t have the containment to attract the nectar we seek to quench our hungry and lonely hearts. If we look within, we may feel a hunger that is deeply insatiable. This is a feeling that only we can satisfy. It would be impossible for anyone to do that for us.

Until we feel we are worthy of love, we are unable to sustain the true love we ultimately seek. When we feel incomplete within ourselves, our sense of partiality tends to attract partial relationships that last for some time and then dissolve. It is only when we feel whole within ourselves that we attract the wholesome love that provides the meaty sustenance to accompany and enhance our lives.

When we learn to love our self, we become like an open cup ready to receive the bounty of life. Perhaps, to some, that seems like bitter irony. You may ask, “If I feel whole, why would I want to find love?” Love is organic and infinite. It is not an end point, but an ongoing, alive, evolving force. Love does not arise though “wanting”. When we are “wanting”, we are identified as separate from that which we want. How can we attract something from which we feel disconnected? When we we feel that we are not separate from, but exist within, love, we are able to receive and sustain it.

Love flourishes as an ever-present force to be witnessed. For most, love is to be found, to be had or to be lost. But for the wise, love is to witness an unfolding. As we love ourself or as we love another, we learn not to grasp or to control, but to appreciate with inner spaciousness the blossoming, the evolution of this moment as it is.

It is not someone else’s job to make you feel loved, but up to you to tap into the love within yourself. Friends, family, lovers, spouses can amplify that connection within you, but they are not the source. To put that job on someone else would be to sidestep your own spiritual responsibility.

Feeling disconnected from love can be a deeply unconscious thing, due to wounds we carry from childhood and/or from past lives. There may be a very young place within us that still feels unmet by our mother, our father or both. From this place, we tend to express a wanting for love. We may be feeling unconsciously, “I want daddy to make it all ok,” or “I want mommy to love me in the way I need”, which then gets projected onto any potential partner we may attract. How could a partner fill that void?

A mature, lasting love relationship is not two halves making a whole, but two wholes dancing in the infinite. We must do our own inner work on our deeper issues before we can have a lasting and meaningful relationship with another person.


It is up to each one of us to realize that within us exists an unbroken tie to the universe, an unending tap that flows with love. The problem is, most of us are standing on the ‘cosmic hose’ that is pumping love our way, while we scratch our heads bewildered, wondering where all the love has gone. When we are developing self-love, we need to look within at the ways in which we are blocking the flow to feel love, to feel loved.

Love is all around, within, always. The very fabric of the universe pulsates at the frequency of love, of joy, of abundance. In each moment we are loved beyond what we could ever imagine. It is our own distorted thoughts, wounds and attachments that make us believe otherwise. So why do we hold on to feeling disconnected, searching for love ‘to fill me up’ from ‘out there’, rather than within?

Perhaps it is habit, socialized patterns, a sort of cosmic amnesia that keeps us asleep rather than truly empowered. Perhaps it is easier to blame than take responsibility. There is a subtle power we get from feeling powerless, from feeling like a victim. It is scary to let go of blame and take responsibility for our happiness, because we have to look within and change things that hold us back from growing. Stepping into the new, the unknown, is scary, when we are attached to things being as they are. That involves being accountable for our life and letting go of blaming everyone, even our parents, or the universe, for our wounds. We each chose our parents and every aspect of our lives. Everything that exists in our lives is a reflection of our thoughts and beliefs and provides perfect support for our growth. There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

In order to embrace change, we need courage. Self-love takes courage to develop. It is only when we have the courage to welcome ourselves into our hearts that we find the love we seek. In welcoming our full self into our self, that is, in opening ourself up to the totality of who we are, we learn to welcome the love from the universe, and then from others, into our lives. When we love ourself, we discover how to co-create with the love from another. Our life then becomes like a house built on a solid foundation.

Without self-love, we tend to graft ourselves onto another person’s energy, because we are not rooted in who we are. Our rootedness comes from our personal relationship with the cosmos, the divine and the reality (not the myth) of love. One’s relationship to the divine is a deeply personal thing, something no one but oneself can truly understand.


Self-love is different from self-confidence or having a good self-esteem, though they can be related. Self-confidence is when one feels certitude in their ability to discern or act, whereas self-esteem involves a quiet assurance in one’s place within the whole, a feeling of being a valuable and welcome part of the universe. Self-love involves the ability to treat oneself with understanding, kindness, patience and gentle perseverance. Deeper still, self-love involves one’s ability to know that one’s true nature is love and that our human destiny is to embody that love and express it in all we do.

The notion of self-love conjures images for many of being overly indulgent, narcissistic, egotistical, vain or selfish. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. It is only when we love our self that we learn to truly love others.

When we love ourself, we begin to look at life not as something happening ‘to me’, but as a reflection of who we are. We don’t feel separate from people, places and things, but we see our self in our surroundings. We feel closer to, even a part of, everything. There is a gentle sense of containment, or embrace, that surrounds us at all times, no matter what. In this, we feel rooted, vital and expansive, able to participate in life and follow our true joy with openness and courage.

Self-love is not about being overly attached and fascinated with the notion of “mine”. Self-love is a sacred thing. It brings us close to the divine. It allows us to see our Self as a reflection of the sacred, a part of a much greater whole. Self-love requires a paradigm shift. It involves being able to feel connected at some level to something greater than our ego.

When we allow ourselves to be wholly who we are, we embody the Divine. Our deepest joy is our way into the realm of possibility, a guiding light into our true, infinite nature. I have often contemplated on the meaning of the phrase “It is God’s Will”. Does that mean that some force outside of me could potentially disapprove of my choices? What I have come to realize is that there is no force ‘out there’ that is separate from my true self. The will of the universe dances to the rhythm of love and is supported by joy. In essence, my true joy is the universe’s joy. I know without a shadow of doubt that so it is for you too. We are all beings of love. Let us remember our true nature and set ourselves free. Love, love, love. It is all about love.

May we each remember our true nature, embody love and set the world’s heart ablaze.



  1. I can attest to the truth of this: "Until we feel we are worthy of love, we are unable to sustain the true love we ultimately seek. When we feel incomplete within ourselves, our sense of partiality tends to attract partial relationships that last for some time and then dissolve."

    These days I'm actually much happier remaining single and working to see and heal the wounds that have kept me in a state of disconnect, anxiety and unworthiness. Whether another partner comes into my life is really not important to me. If I tried to have another partnership without dealing with all this stuff in myself, I'd feel over the moon for a little while, and then it would fall apart again.

    Shania Twain recently observed that her divorce was like a death. I experienced mine as a rebirth. I felt free to heal and grow and be fully myself.

    I would say, also, that these relationships based on a sense of incompleteness can last, in a way, if the partners are stubborn enough. It is certainly possible, if the fear of change is strong enough, to stay with someone for the rest of your life long after the feeling of love and partnership has dissolved, without ever addressing the misery, constriction and disconnect you're feeling. I don't recommend it, though. I don't think it serves anyone or anything to exemplify such adamant insistence on impossibility.

  2. I have felt that wanting is like having chains, when you want something you just act in ways to get that something or to keep that something instead of being yourself. Thus while there is wanting there is no much room to be what we really are. Wanting something perishable always leads to the suffering and not joy, peace, love, which is what I really want.

  3. See my comment on your "Ask Parvati" piece from a few weeks ago. Love, as in partners or relationships (as opposed to unconditional love, such as received from Amma) is one of those things I just don't understand or get, thanks to autism spectrum. Because of Asperger's, I feel I have little choice but to live a monastic celibate lifestyle, without taking formal vows as such. I can only learn to accept it as part of my disability, just as a blind person won't be able to read this text on the computer screen. Is it any wonder that for a good chunk of the 1990s I felt the need to wear a fake wedding ring so people would at least think I was in a relationship, and thereby more mature, and having achieved something in the world.

  4. To add to the above, university doesn't count as far as seeking partner-based love is concerned. Peer pressure to "score" or "get laid" and alcohol-fueled party animalism are a toxic mix, Asperger's or no. The summer between high school and first year university doesn't count either, as it was literally an American Pie experience so I wouldn't get laughed out of residence. I love this blog!

  5. Keval, are you willing to open to the possibilities of loving yourself? You may find that much flows from that, that you did not previously think was possible for you.

  6. Thank you Parvati.I thought the notion of feeling separate prevented one from realizing the full force of Love. As I realize the connectedness of all I feel more love emanating from within and without. Now, can you please talk more about God's will? Or Divine Grace? I was understanding that in order to be in I AM and flow with the river one does not question where "the river" is going, or how fast, but accepts that the river is love and that Divine Grace is guiding each of us to unfold into what we are uniquely meant to be or experience in this lifetime. ??

  7. Thank you for your question Debbie. I grew up in a loving home where I heard the phrase "Thy Will be done" often. I wondered what that meant, because it made me feel potentially judged rather than connected. In trying to come to terms with that while learning to honor my creative impulse, I discovered that the voice of my joy within was the voice of the divine...they were not separate. In the blog I was saying that sometimes our joy can feel distant or impossible if we have not connected to self love and given ourselves permission to be authentic. I love and get the river you speak of....flow, letting go and being guided. Indeed, to have absolute trust in the river is a divine thing because our joy is one with the universe.

  8. I can identify with the person asking the question. I also thought that I needed to fix myself first, so that I could attract the 'perfect' mate and since I am far from being fixed, the prospects of finding that soulmate looked pretty grim. Saying that I feel I suck would be a bit strong. Nevertheless, I would agree that feeling loved by another certainly validated my sense of self. I have since come to realize that love between humans is and will always be imperfect and conditional, whether it be between life partners, family members or friends. The only thing I can count on is the love I give myself. I can only learn to love and accept my(Self) unconditionally with all my flaws and shortcomings. In its purest essence, I am, after all, pure consciousness, a child of God, the embodiment of love and light... whatever you want to call it. So what's not to love?

    To comment on Debbie's comment, I believe that when we discover our true Self, our joy and the love that we ultimately ARE, that puts us automatically in the flow of the river, because the Self is part of the whole and self love is part of the universal love. When we are in the low of the river, we TRUST that the river will take us to where ever we need to go, experiencing whatever we need to experience, whether it be a love relationship, a job, a place to live, or starting a family, knowing that it is all Divine Grace anyway.

  9. I really enjoyed this blog. Especially the part of 2 1/2's does not make a whole. Two holes is such a great way to think about relationships. So much for that saying meet my better 1/2.

    Thanks for the blog and for the interesting conversation.

  10. Or to put this blog into a 3 minute really cool song with catchy dance beats and a hooky chorus. Parvati wrote Cinderella. Check it out on youtube.........

    and if you want to sing along with the lyrics: