What is the real meaning of self-love?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readOct 19, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: What is the meaning of ‘self-love’?

Acharya Prashant: When it is said, “Love yourself,” then surely there are two. One — who is receiving the instruction. And another one — who is going to be loved.

This has to be understood.

When I say, “Love yourself,” then the two-ness in the instruction has to be appreciated. Who is the one I am advising to be more loving? And who is the one I am asking to be loved? They are not one, they are two.

When it is said, “Love. Go and Love,” then it is being said surely to someone, who does not always love. It is being told to someone who is not a natural lover and therefore is being advised to love.

Who is not a natural lover?

The ego. The ego is not a natural lover. The ego by its very constitution remains in fear. And the one who remains in fear, cannot naturally or easily love.

So, when it is said, “Love,”

surely someone is being advised or instructed to love.

Surely you cannot advise the True Self to love, because the True Self is not in any need of any instructions or advice, nor is the True Self deficient of love.

Who is being advised to love?

The ego.

So, when we say, “Love thyself,” the ‘Love’ part stands clear now — the ego is being told to love. And who is this ‘thyself’? This ‘thyself’ God forbid, is not the ego itself. The ego is not being told to love itself. This ‘thyself’ is the ‘real you’. This ‘thyself’ is the only one who is worthy of love. And therefore, is being asked to be loved.

Who is this ‘thyself’?

The Real Self, the True Self.

So when it is said, “Love yourself,” it is analogous to — Love the True Self, Love God, Love Atman.

Who is being told to love?

The ego.

And who is going to be loved?

The True Self, that you can call as ‘the Heart’, or ‘God’, or ‘the Atman’.