all u need it love…is LOVE. Not a mushy kind of love where you wait for someone to say ‘I love you’ so you can feel better about yourself. The biggest love of your life must be YOU being in love with yourself – first and foremost. Loving ourselves starts first with accepting ourselves for who we are – our strengths and our challenges. It means we can look in the mirror and say nice things. It means not beating ourselves up over every little thing that we think we did wrong.

I really like the idea of some philosophies that believe we are born perfect and pure and the purpose of life is to realize this perfection. This is much better than the philosophy that we have been born a sinner and we have to spend our life proving we are worthy. Inside each and every one of us is a unique, special, talented, and beautiful being.

Unfortunately, as we experience life, we form perceptions that become stuck in our subconscious. We are the director of our own movie and the story is based on past experiences, some good and most bad, that we believe are true. This film keeps on playing and we believe the story to be true that we are not good enough, not attractive enough, not smart enough. Enough of that, I say. Stop the camera, take out the film, and destroy it. Don’t believe the stories you tell yourself. It is possible to create a new story where you see yourself as everything you want to be.

As the Beatles’ song goes – “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done, nothing you can sing that can’t be sung, nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game, it’s easy…all you need is love, all you need is love, all you need is love, love, love is all you need.” This song was written with the word ‘you’ in the text. There is nothing in the song that says love has to come from someone else. When we learn to love and respect ourselves then people will be more loving and respectful towards us.

The world around us is a direct reflection of who we are. When we are kind and loving towards ourselves then we will attract the same into our life. Did you ever notice that people around you are more positive and loving when you are in a good mood? I’ve experienced this many times in my life. When I feel loving and open then everyone I meet is so nice and friendly and I just want to tell the world – I Love All of You.

Loving yourself also means to be confident that what you do and say is because you want to do and say it. Don’t second-guess every move you make. If it comes from the heart then you can never go wrong. Do you rely on others to validate what you are doing? Do you post a picture on Facebook only to find yourself checking over and over who ‘liked it’? Face your own book, as the Swami I met in India would say. Learn to become friends and in love with yourself. If you cannot love yourself then no one else will either. As I say at the end of my yoga classes- may you always appreciate yourself, love yourself, and believe in yourself.

When we can love ourselves for who we are today then who we can become is even greater. Appreciate who you are – right now. Take some time and write in a gratitude journal the top ten things you like about yourself. What are your strengths? How do you help others? Be bold.

Create a new story and visualize this new image of yourself and make it alive within yourself. When I was in Bali, I visited Cokorda Rai, a special Balinese healer, and he told me – “Each morning when you wake up, look in the mirror, smile, and with your hand, grab that smile and swallow it into your liver and smile some more.” For whatever it is worth, try it out. If anything you might even start to laugh at yourself, as I did. That alone will change everything.

Photo- The cover picture this week is graffiti from a wall in the Beatles ashram in Rishikesh, India. I snapped the picture while I was there last year, and have to say I could not stop singing the All You Need is Love song.