When we know how to honor ourselves (read Honor Yourself if you haven’t already) then we are in a position to truly honor another.
No one likes to be on the receiving end of unkind behavior and we have all been unkind to one another. What I am going to describe now are some yogic and Christian principles that will hopefully help us all be more kind and loving to each other. With that, hopefully less judgmental of ourselves and others (judgments are just another way we inflict pain on ourselves and others).
In yoga this practice is called ahimsa, that is a Sanskrit word for loving kindness, compassion and non- violence. Love is suppose to be, according to both yoga philosophy and Biblical text, an unconditional act, one that expects no return. It is an act of equality and not one based on how we have been treated or would like to be treated. We act with love because it is morally and ethically the right thing to do. When we practice ahimsa we honor all life forms, all of God’s creation, people, animals and nature. “All creation is sacred. Ahimsa is consideration for all beings. Living in a way that causes as little harm as possible. Cultivating love and compassion for all life.” (The Spirit of Yoga, by Cat De Rham and Michele Gill)
My favorite explanation of love can be found in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance”. Preceding this 1 COR 13:3, “If I (Paul the author) didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.” To conclude chapter 13 the final scripture states, “There are three things that will endure-faith, hope and love-and the greatest of these is love.”
Love is everything and it will get you through anything. Not a single one of us is perfect but we all have the potential to be better. I truly believe we were created to love and serve one another, not be loved and be served. We don’t change overnight and we will never be perfect examples of love. However, we can be better, we can love more, we can forgive ourselves and others for their imperfection, we can raise our own personal standards and hold ourselves accountable. We were created with a spirit of love that is layered over with hurt and pain, but underneath it all is a strong spirit of love that can and will endure everything and anything that life throws our way if we let it. I can promise you that this is not the easy path, we are ruled by our passions and emotions, myself included, it is a struggle sometimes. Be patient with yourself, be kind, learn from your mistakes and try to do better next time.
We all deserve love and remember the next time someone is less than kind to you, they are another imperfect, hurting soul and you have no idea what they are going through. Your love may be just the thing that that gets them through their day.
From my heart to yours!