For the past couple months, my mornings have begun with a blaring alarm clock, a splash of water, and bare feet on a yoga mat. It’s a new thing for me, to be putting energy and time into a yoga practice, but something I am already seeing genuine and profound benefits from.
Yesterday, I dutifully typed “Yoga with Adriene” into YouTube, looking for a practice that would take around an hour. My eyes fell to a 50-minute video called Self Love Yoga.
At one point during the practice, she says something along the lines of, “...the opposite of self-love.”
My mind, consistently a mile a minute, lights up: “Would the opposite of self-love be self-hate?” Followed immediately by, “or it could be other-love.”
I smiled and continued my stretch thinking about how both of those would make sense as “the opposite of self-love.” The opposite of loving yourself is hating yourself. Or, I tipped my drama hat, the opposite of being totally obsessed with yourself is being totally obsessed with others.
But, because of a deep-rooted love of wordplay, my mind fired once more: “The opposite of self is others. The opposite of love is hate. So the opposite of self-love could be hating-others.”
In through the nose. Out through the mouth.
What if that’s the best way to sum up the other definitions. If you aren’t loving yourself, it becomes really easy to hate others. Hurt people hurt people.
I don’t have any answers. Just blissed out muscles and a forever overactive mind. But there is, perhaps, an unintended side effect of the self-love practice. Loving others - without terms or conditions. Loving others - always.