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Four Levels or Dimensions of Conscious Self Love

Dear Integral Meditators,

Our relationship to ourself is the basis of our relationship to the rest of the world, this weeks article looks at how we can consistently improve that relationship by working with four levels of self-love.

In the spirit of celebrating self,


Four Levels or Dimensions of Conscious Self Love

Self love and the challenges associated with it remains one of the most consistent themes that I hear coming up in my 1:1 coaching practice, so I thought it might be interesting to outline four basic levels of  mindful self love practice that you can start working with on a practical level. Generally each of us has each of these four levels within us, and we oscillate between them (and the ‘pre-level) during the day.

Pre-level 1Unconscious self hatred or dislike:All of us have parts of ourself that we dislike, hate or fear. Many people remain unaware of their self-dislike because either they have buried it within their mind to the point where they really are unconscious of it, or they know about it peripherally, but they choose not to look at it because it makes them feel uncomfortable . At this level our self-dislike influences a lot of our behavior, thoughts and feelings, but we are not really aware of it.

Level 1 – Conscious self hatred or dislike: At this first level then we commit to becoming mindfully aware of all the ways  in which we negatively judge, reject and dislike ourself. We commit to caring about ourself, to acknowledge the wounds in our relationship to ourself, and bring them into the light of our conscious awareness. This then starts to offer us a choice as to how we are going to act upon or respond to these wounds.

Level 2- Self acceptance: So from level one we then go to level two, where we consciously work upon accepting ourself in general, and in particular working with accepting the parts of ourself that we habitually reject, dislike or alienate. Self acceptance implies a tolerance of ourself, not yet a liking, but nevertheless an ability to look ourself in the mirror and accept what we see open heartedly without looking away.

Level 3 – Liking & embracing self: Self acceptance then builds the basis for level three, where we move toward enhancing the healthy self love and like that we have from ourself to ourself, and actively embracing and loving the parts of ourself that we previously rejected.

Level 4 – Celebrating self: Liking and embracing self provides the basis for level four, where our loving and liking of ourself invites us to start expressing that self in creative ways that celebrate, grow and enhance our experience of who we are and what we do in the world. On this level we are enjoying playfully engaging ourself in the world. This fourth level is not the same as negative egotism. Negative egotism sees itself as more important than anyone else in the world; to celebrate self means to embrace and enjoy expressing who we are, which does not mean we are degrading or diminishing others. Indeed it might be said that it is only when we are celebrating ourself that we can truly say we are nurturing and cherishing others, and encouraging them to celebrate themselves.

Closing points
So there you go, four levels to be aware of and practice, levels 1&2 provide the ‘bottom of the self love pyramid’ so to speak, which then enables us to enjoy the higher levels and peaks of levels 3&4 consistently and safely. If you can apply these four stages to yourself, you will also find that you can start mindfully applying them to your relationship to other people…

Four Mindful Self-Love Questions
Which parts of myself to I hate, fear or reject?
If I were to practice 10% more self acceptance today, what might change?
How difficult or easy do I find it to connect to myself with warmth and affection? Can I find that connection now?
What way can I celebrate and enjoy who I am today?

© Toby Ouvry 2015, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

Integral Meditation Asia