Unconditional love is defined as, “affection without any limitations,” or, “love without conditions.” It is loving someone for who they are and meeting them where they are at in their journey. Many of us, including myself, have at one time misunderstood or confused the initial start of a relationship as love, or unconditional love, when it was/is actually infatuation, which is defined as, “an intense passion or admiration for someone or something.” Many times infatuation can last for years, and then come quickly to an end, half of the time ending a partnership, friendship, relationship or marriage. People do not understand that unconditional love is a choice we have to strive to make daily. True love is a conscious choice we make daily, whether that be for your spouse, your children, your pets, your family, etc. To unconditionally love is for the betterment of our world, and what will ultimately save it from its demise.
To love unconditionally, you must first start with unconditionally loving yourself. That means you have to love yourself where you are in this season of your life. Retire the mindset of, “if I were X pounds thinner than I am, I would be so much happier,” or, “if I looked this certain way, or made X amount of money I would be so much more contented.” It is not healthy, nor smart, to live in the future- that causes anxiety- and we must quit living in the past, for it no longer serves you and living in the past can cause depression. You must be disciplined and train your mind make loving choices everyday.
A disciplined mind is one of the best ways to show yourself you love yourself. A disciplined mind consists of training your thoughts to shape your mind for the better, and implementing everyday tasks, or “to-dos” to get there.
These daily “to-dos” usually consist of daily meditation, prayer, asanas, breath work and healthy habits for cleanliness, nutrition, and a social, intimate and physical relationship with yourself.
- Strive to mediate for 5-7 minutes a day if you are new to it, and 10-20 minutes a day if you are more seasoned at it. This is great for giving your mind a break, and allowing your brain to access the left hemisphere of the brain.
- Praying, or showing gratitude, to a higher being is one of the greatest ways to reaffirm to ourselves how blessed we are in this life. God, Allah, or whoever your higher source is, can be thanked for all the wonderful blessings and energy you experience.
- Asanas, or the physical postures in yoga (many people mistake the asanas as the totality of yoga, which is incorrect), are good for overall health of the body in terms of flexibility, strengthening the muscles and bones, blood circulation, prana/energy, and hormone regulation. It is also great for the dosha (Kapha, Pitta and Vata) imbalances contingent on the symptoms you may have.
- Breath work is probably one of the most underrated things you could do for your overall health. It is great for moving energy in the body, and is the only voluntary function we can do that can take use in and out of sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode in terms of stress. Diaphragmatic breathing is how we should all be breathing. I encourage everyone to first master diaphragmatic breathing without any catching of the breath, before moving on to other forms of breathing in order to manipulate the energy in the body.
- Cleanliness is pivotal for a person/yogi and their practice. One should shower daily, and keep a room light, clean, and airy for asanas and meditation.
- Nutrition is pivotal to one’s overall being, and it plays a key role in your hormones, affecting your doshas and energy in the body. I highly recommend and follow a low sugar diet (including white flour) since it has been proven to be better on your overall health, and helps decrease all of the doshas, naturally bringing down their imbalances.
- To have a social relationship with yourself means an outlet of creative expression. This means indulging in something you enjoy, such as painting, singing, writing, or some form of creative expression you enjoy. (This does not mean browsing on social media outlets or watching TV).
- Having an intimate and physical relationship can mean many things, but in this sense I mean to literally say outloud that “I love myself,” and maybe even give yourself a hug once in awhile. This has positive effects on the psyche. I also mean that for a physical relationship to get out and do something physical that gets your heart moving, such as running, elliptical, weight training, or any other form of exercise.
When we master loving ourselves unconditionally, we are able to love others unconditionally. Once we can do this, we will slowly start to realize that everyone is connected in one way, and we are all one at different stages of life. When we realize this, I truly believe we have a chance at true world peace. And how remarkable would that be?
God bless and Namaste