I have found that there are many different types of mind sets within the spiritual community. There is one particular mindedness that I think we need to be aware of. It is the idea that because self-love is so important to spiritual growth, that we should put ourselves and our desires above all else. I have seen people use this idea to justify infidelity, abandonment of their children, lying, stealing, drug abuse, over-eating and more. I have experienced the way it can be used to manipulate people into doing things we know are morally wrong but have been given the false feeling that it can somehow be excused by claiming it was done in the best interest of the self.
I am an advocate of the ego. I think it gets a bad rap and we should learn how to work with it rather than trying to suppress it. That being said, I worry that the people who believe that self-love is a pass to be self-centered are letting their ego fool them. They believe they are honoring their higher selves by pursuing their desires when they are actually indulging a greedy ego. When we act in ways that are hurtful to others or to our bodies, that is never in the best interest of our souls. On a soul level we are all connected and what hurts one, hurts all. We cannot care for ourselves while failing to care for others.
If something is important to us on a soul level, there will always be a way to obtain it that is not morally compromising. If there is no moral way of obtaining your desire, it was not meant for you and you can be sure that it is coming from the ego and not your higher self. To move forward in trying to obtain it would be damaging to you on a soul level, and that damage can be very difficult and timely to heal.
This does not mean that there will never be a time that doing what is right for us will not hurt someone else. Suffering is inevitable in life and at times we are all bound to be the cause of someone’s suffering. We do not have to do it in a thoughtless, selfish, or careless manner, however.
For instance, there may be a time we must end relationships because they no longer serve us and are not healthy to continue and that may cause some suffering for the other party, but we must do what is right for us. In this situation, we must be kind, but honest and end the relationship. There is never an excuse to be unfaithful or dishonest.
Another example is in the way we treat our bodies. We cannot indulge in behaviors that our detrimental to our physical health with the excuse of fulfilling our divine desires. Poor nutrition and physical activity levels are not in the interest of our higher self. They are ego driving desires that are harmful to our soul’s current vehicle. Our bodies are tools that we need to learn to respect to get the most out of, just like any other tool.
When you are thinking about your spirituality and self-love and self-care, really examine where your desires are coming from. It’s okay if they are coming from the ego, almost all desire does to some extent, but take the time to consider if the desire is also beneficial to the higher self. If you believe that it is truly in your best interest, then go after it in a manner that you can respect and be proud of.