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Unconditional Motherhood: The Path to Loving Yourself?

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For most of us, our mother is the earliest and most significant influence in life. She is likely our first encounter with unconditional love. The service and selfless giving that mothering universally represents are qualities that we all must learn to emulate on our journey to self-realization.

In order to love unconditionally, I have learned that I must first learn to love and accept myself exactly as I am. How can I embrace others in their perfection if I cannot first see my own? If, in judging myself I reject certain aspects, unconditional love towards others can never be anything more than a hollow façade. Similarly, in order to mother the world, I must first learn to mother myself -- to find the beauty and perfection of my own individuality and rejoice in my own unique way of being. Then naturally, acceptance and love of others will overflow to my friends and family and ultimately, to my community and the world.

When we cultivate true love of self, the love that is present within us radiates out to all beings, all peoples, and to mother Earth herself. Many talk about what we should do -- respect basic human rights, care for the environment and so on. Yet, if we must remind ourselves to do these things and so impose them upon ourselves, then the desire to care and serve is not arising naturally and spontaneously; then we are not dwelling in a healthy place where our innate capacity to give and support all life grows and thrives naturally. Ultimately, our own inner healing will cause these qualities to flourish; not because we are trying to behave responsibly, but because out of an open heart, we are joyfully taking responsibility for nurturing and protecting life.

Unconditional mothering is motherhood without fear or fear-based control. It is neither lax nor careless, nor based on pleasing or fear of losing the favor of a child. Real mother love knows how to set limits, establish boundaries, confront unsatisfactory situations and guide a child's development with a steady, firm hand. Inwardly, such a large love is surrendered, trusting that things will unfold as they should and free of the ego-based fear of making a mistake, and so it is neither overprotective nor overbearing.

An individual focused on unconditional love is giving the greatest contribution of all to the evolution of our planet. Our gift to humanity comes through our own inner growth and advancement, a mothering of our self that births our own greatness, even as it brings out the greatness in others.

As you cultivate an unconditional relationship with yourself, you will find the unconditional love you seek to express for your children, parents, friends and colleagues. You will become a universal mother: a mother of the world.

Isha Judd is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher. Her book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? (WhyWalkWhenYouCanFly.com) explain her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness.