By Rayna Lumbard

We’ve heard it all before, “all you need is love” and “love is all you need.” But how many songs and conversations really focus on loving ourselves? In today’s stressed out world we are bombarded with the reality of natural and ecological disasters, deadly terrorists, wars of different kinds here and abroad, and killer influenza pandemics. How many of us really think about spreading good old-fashioned love power to fortify ourselves personally and as a collective to save our world? Many of us are now baby boomers who grew up in the 60’s, The Love Generation.

Hopefully we cherish our love beads and the virtue of unconditional love enough to pass them down to our children and grandchildren. To be credible we must also spread the truth that love is the most important and powerful force for good through our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. It is up to each of us to ultimately find out and experience for ourselves what true love and peace really is and understand that it all starts within each of us. The power of love and acceptance is our own responsibility, an inside job to uplift, heal ourselves. Only then can our love express through each of us, out into our lives, touching and healing the lives of others and our world. Our new song becomes one that is sung weekly in New Thought churches all over the globe, “Let Peace Begin with Me.”

Many of us grew up learning what love is from how our dysfunctional family treated us and others. We were treated in crazy-making and hurtful ways that scared us into believing that being loved and cared about was painful. This usually caused emotional trauma that many times resulted in psychological or physical conditions or dis-eases adversely affecting our health and wellbeing. As children, the whole world revolves around us. We ultimately make negative decisions (I’m not important, worthy or good enough, not pretty or smart enough) about ourselves based on what we believe is true, not what really is true. We learn to dislike or even hate ourselves depending on how sensitive we were to miscommunication or mistreatment in our impressionable childhoods from the people who cared about us the most!

The sad news is our parents, teachers, and other “perpetrators” didn’t really know how to act any better or how to love themselves, so it’s no wonder their actions reflected their own negativity. Even so, it is still our own responsibility to be aware of our issues and work through these childhood traumas, professionally if need be. After all, how willing are you to suffer with emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, and/or financial pain? How sick and tired are you with being destructive to the point of sabotaging yourself, your relationships, career or life?

How ready are you to open to the kind of love that promotes harmony, wholesome intimate relationships, good health and well being? Are you or your friends tired of overeating, using drugs, overworking, escaping through porn, video games or ipods, or even been beaten down physically, emotionally, verbally, spiritually or sexually? Are you ready to transform love from pain to pleasure?

It’s time to be aware of how you act on your positive or negative decisions based on your unique experiences. Whether you are aware of it or not your individual love stories play out big time in your life for better or worse. You are continually writing your life script, acting out your parts, and watching for the other actors in your life to respond to you. I ask you to consider this. Are you happy with the love story you have co-produced or co-created? If not, maybe it’s time to declare your divine birthright to become more aware of just how much or how little you love yourself. When truly love and accept yourself, you will realize how much of a positive difference you truly can make by spreading your love and light around this very troubled planet.

You may ask, “How do I really love myself?” With millions of self-help books, healing CD’s, close encounters of the personal growth kind, and the media frenzy from Dr. Phil to the Big “O” herself only inches away, it’s no wonder that we may be feeling just a bit overwhelmed. To thrive in this world riddled with anxiety over everything negative that could, and does at times, happen, it would serve us best to be aware of our internal and external surroundings like never before. Under heightened alert, we can transcend our fear by striving for instant enlightenment for ourselves and our loved ones. Every area of our busy lives is demanding that we be clear, present, compassionate and loving.

The “New Age” has a new focus—we know now that self-care and self-esteem are not the same as “selfish.” Loving yourself is a way of life that is essential—for optimal physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Now you know that loving yourself is the foundation and the core of loving others. So why does it seem such an awesome task to take on? Again, our childhood experiences and the ways our parents and others “loved” us often didn’t feel good to us. We learned that others’ needs were more important than our own. So how do we learn how to truly love ourselves? How do we open to the loving nature that is innately ours?

There are many ways to approach this essential, life-affirming, transformative process. One way I love myself is by opening my heart to people who embody unconditional love: skilled counselors, therapists or life coaches, spiritual teachers, caring friends, body workers, and others who are available to support me in breaking through internal barriers. I ultimately rely on my own inner wisdom and still small voice of love from my Higher Self to guide me to experience the depths and heights of my being, where my own answers are. I am really accepting myself being and feeling perfect as I am, whole, complete, and at peace with myself. As I resonate to my Truth, I am AT ONE with all around me.

Now I am clear that my goal is to create my life in ways that truly fulfill me. I attract loving and fulfilling relationships with others who are aligned with my energy and divine life purpose. These loving souls complement my gifts, talents and playful nature in many ways that assist me in releasing negative thoughts from the past. Even if at first it seems foreign or painful, I happily release beliefs such as, if I am being myself, others will reject me, or that I am undeserving or worthy of love or abundance. I am then free to harmonize with others and together our energies express harmoniously through music, ceremonies, and other sacred avenues—creating a symphony of love that resonates a strong, powerful light ray of energy out into the Universe.

I feel a new sense of personal power surging through my veins. I am truly alive as I awaken to my spiritual transformation. I have broken out of my safe but restrictive cocoon to fly as freedom calls to me. Now I trust my own abilities to work and play feeling the joy and passion of connecting from my heart’s desire. My work even becomes playful and fun! When I love myself unconditionally, I make friends with my body, no matter what size or condition it is in.

As I become my own nurturer, I find out why my inner child self has “chosen” to be in pain or out of shape. I keep listening to myself so that I heal the wounds from the past that have kept me stuck in old patterns that no longer serve me. I send in healing rays of light, sound, my spirit guides, or other energies to complete the process. I find pleasure in healing myself physically through my emotions and spirit. Now I do believe that I deserve to be happy, healthy, and loved! By loving myself, I accept my body’s changes and do what feels right to stay energetic and youthful.

Humor is another way I love myself. When I take myself lightly, I tune into the richness that life offers as well as the valuable lessons that help me grow. I find kindred spirits who laugh and play with me. I take one day at a time and stay grounded in who I am and what’s important to me. I can be spontaneous as well as mindful and focused, in a balance that works for me. I consciously decide how I choose to spend my time and energy.

I treat life as a special gift from God that has been giving to me to enjoy. I am an artist expressing life through acts of loving kindness similar to a weaver making a beautiful tapestry of rich colors blending together to form a whole picture—a true work of art! I am honest in how I represent myself as I express those qualities that are most important to me: harmony, creativity, fluidity, love, peace, joy, and sacredness for life. I accept my humanness and breathe in a deep sense of knowing that all is in divine order in my universe.

The clarity I feel now comes from knowing and trusting that WE ARE ALL LOVE. I am truly committed to sharing love in healthy ways, to assisting others in transforming their lives as well as in transforming our beautiful planet. My journey through life as a loving channel of healing love energy is intimately involved with finding creative solutions to old personal, social, and planetary challenges. New and meaningful adventures await us all as we live in the new millennium. We have new challenges as our global family faces the darkness of terrorism head on.

It is time to drop our facades and join together in creating everyday miracles that bring healing to ourselves and to others. It is our personal responsibility to generate love not hate, compassion not indifference, and positivism. Only then will the higher energetic vibrations of love and peace heal our families, communities, and the nations of the world and ensure that our precious Mother Earth will thrive and support the highest human and natural life forms.

*Rayna Lumbard, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Certified Professional Coach, Psychospiritual and Quantum-Touch energy healer in Saratoga, California. She is also a writer and  facilitates seminars specializing in “InnerSuccess Transformations,” positive pathways to health and wholeness – www.InnerSuccesss.com