Difficulty in Loving Oneself - learning to love oneself
Question : Why it is so difficult
for me to love myself?
Osho : Every child is born with
tremendous love for himself. It is the society that destroys
it is the religion that destroys that love -- because if a child
goes on growing in loving himself, who is going to love Jesus
Christ? Who is going to love the president, Ronald Reagan? Who
is going to love the parents? The child's love for himself has
to be distracted. He has to be conditioned so that his love is
always towards an object outside himself.
It makes man very poor, because when you love somebody outside
of yourself, whether it is God, the pope, the father, the wife,
the husband, the children -- whoever is the object of your love
-- it makes you dependent on the object. You become secondary in
your own eyes, you become a beggar. You were born an emperor,
utterly contented within yourself. But the father wants you to
love him, the mother wants you to love her. Everybody around you
wants to become an object for your love.
Nobody bothers that a man who cannot love himself cannot love
anybody else either. So a very mad society is created where
everybody is trying to love somebody -- and they have nothing to
give. Nor has the other person anything to give. Why are lovers
continuously fighting, nagging, harassing each other? The simple
reason is they are not getting what they were thinking to get.
Both are beggars, both are empty.
A rightly brought up child will be allowed to grow in love
towards himself so that he becomes so full of love that sharing
becomes a necessity. He is so burdened with love that he wants
somebody to share it. And then love never makes you dependent on
anybody. You are the giver; the giver is never a beggar. And the
other is also a giver.
And when two emperors, masters of their own hearts, meet, there
is tremendous joy. Nobody is dependent on anybody else;
everybody is independent and individual, well-centered in
himself, well-grounded in himself.
He has roots which go deep down within his being, from where the
juice called love comes towards the surface and blossoms in
thousands of roses. This type of person has not been possible up
to now because of your prophets, your messiahs, your
incarnations of God, and all other kinds of idiots. They have
destroyed you for their own glory, for their own ego. They have
crushed you utterly. You can see the logic.
Either the messiah, the savior, becomes the object of your love,
and you become just shadows blindly following him; or if you are
fully contented, overflowing with love and blossoming in
thousands of roses, then who cares to be saved? -- you are
already saved. Who cares about paradise? -- you are in it. The
priest will die if you learn how to love yourself, the
politician will not have followers; all the vested interests in
society will go bankrupt. They are all thriving on a very subtle
psychological exploitation of you.
But learning to love oneself is not
difficult, it is natural. If you have been able to do
something which is unnatural, if you have learned how to love
others without loving yourself, then the other thing is very
simple. You have done the almost impossible. It is only a
question of understanding, a simple understanding, that "I am to
love myself; otherwise I will miss the meaning of life. I will
never grow up, I will simply grow old. I will not have any
individuality. I will not be truly human, dignified,
And moreover, if you cannot love yourself, you cannot love
anybody else in the world. So many psychological problems have
arisen because you have been distracted from yourself. You are
unworthy, you are not what you should be; your actions have to
be corrected. You have to be molded into a certain personality.
In Japan they have four-hundred-year-old trees, but their height
is only six inches. They think that it is a form of art. It is
murder, sheer murder! The tree looks ancient, but is only six
It would have been one hundred feet high, reaching towards the
stars. What have they done? What strategy have they used? The
same strategy has been used against humanity, human beings. They
put the tree in a pot which has no bottom. So whenever the tree
grows its roots, they go on cutting them, because there is no
bottom to the pot. The roots they go on cutting, and unless
roots grow deeper, the tree cannot rise higher. It grows old,
but it never grows up. Exactly the same has been done with human
Your love for yourself is a basic necessity for your growth.
Hence, I teach you to be selfish which is natural. All your religions have been teaching you to be altruistic.
Sacrifice yourself for any idiotic idea: the flag -- just a
rotten piece of cloth. You sacrifice yourself to the nation --
which is nothing but fantasy, because the earth is not divided
anywhere into nations. It is the politicians' cunningness, to
divide the earth on the map. You are sacrificing for the lines
drawn on the maps!
Die for your religion: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism,
Mohammedanism. And they have managed it in such a way that the
individual is caught. If you die for your nation you will be
called a martyr -- you are simply committing suicide, and that
too for a foolish reason. If you die for your religion you will
reach paradise, you
will enjoy eternal blessings. They have manipulated you. But one
thing is basic in that manipulation, that is, don't love
yourself; hate yourself, because you are not worth anything.
Everybody is full of hate for himself. And do you think if you
hate yourself you can find someone who is going to love you?
Even you are not ready to love yourself; it is impossible for
anybody else to love you. You have accepted the idea that unless
you follow certain rules, religious dogmas, political
ideologies, you are not of any worth. When you were born, you
were not born as a Christian, as a Catholic; you were not born
as a communist. Every child comes into the world as a tabula
rasa, completely clean.
Nothing is written on him -- the Bible, Koran, Gita, Das Kapital--
no, nothing is written on him. He brings no holy book with
himself. He comes in utter innocence. But his innocence becomes
his greatest trouble, because all around him are wolves --
hiding in politicians, in priests, in parents, in teachers. They
all jump upon your innocence. They start writing things on you
which later on you will believe is your heritage. They have
destroyed your heritage. Now it is possible for them to enslave
you, to make you do anything they want.
If they want you to murder innocent people. There are religious
mafias, there are political mafias, and they go on exploiting
you. They may be enemies to each other, but on one point they
all agree: that a man should not be
allowed to love himself. That cuts his roots from his own being,
and then he is helpless, rootless, just a driftwood, so whatever
you want to make of him you can. The people of this country were
killing innocent, poor people in Vietnam. What business was it
of theirs? And it was not one-sided.
You were sending your own, who have not tasted anything of life,
to kill and to be killed in the name of democracy, in the name
of America. But why should one sacrifice oneself in any name?
Mohammedans and Christians have been fighting, killing each
other, in the name of God. Both are fighting and killing in the
same name -- God. A strange world we have created! But the
strategy is very simple: destroy the person's natural love for
Then he is so unworthy in his own eyes, he is ready to do
anything for a gold medal, just to feel a little worth -- that
he is also somebody. Do you see on your generals many colored
stripes? What kind of stupidity is this? Those stripes go on
growing as the general goes on killing himself, destroying
himself. You can have all those colors on your shirts. I don't
think there is any law that can prevent it, but you will look
simply foolish. Those generals, they don't look foolish, they
are respected;they are great heroes. And what have they done?
They have murdered many people of your country, they have
murdered many people of other countries. These murderers are
rewarded. Have you seen any society rewarding its lovers? No,
lovers are to be condemned. No society allows lovers any
respect; love is an anathema to society. So the first thing all
these vested interests have to do is distract you from love --
and they have succeeded up to now.
Millions of years... and man has remained a slave, feeling a
deep inferiority complex in himself, unworthiness, because he is
not able to fulfill all that is required of him. In fact,
whatever is required is so unnatural that there is no way to
fulfill it. And on your worthlessness the messiahs go on
becoming bigger and bigger, because they say, they promise that
they are the saviors; they are going to save you. You cannot
save yourself. They never allowed you to learn swimming. On your
own you can only be drowned.
The politicians go on giving you hope that soon there will be no
poverty -- and poverty goes on growing. It is not decreasing it
is increasing In Ethiopia thousands of people are dying every
day. And you will be surprised, in America there are half a
million people who are suffering from overeating, obesity; they
go on becoming fatter and fatter. In Ethiopia people are
shrinking, starving and dying. In America people are dying from
overeating, in Ethiopia they are dying because they have nothing
Do you think this world that we have created is sane? Half of
India is going to face the same fate as Ethiopia soon -- and
India's government is selling wheat, exporting wheat to the
outside world. Their own people are going to die -- not in small
numbers: fifty percent of India is just on the borderline. Any
moment it can become a bigger Ethiopia. But the political
leaders are selling the wheat to other countries because they
want nuclear plants, atomic energy, so they can also compete in
the foolish race that is going on.
Anybody can see that it will take at least three hundred years
for India to be a nuclear power equal to America or the Soviet
Union. And do you think for these three hundred years America
and the Soviet Union will simply wait? They will be growing in
the same direction of destruction and death. All this has
happened in the name of altruism.
I want you to become absolutely selfish. Love yourself, be
yourself. Don't be distracted by any type of people --
religious, political, social, educational. Your first
responsibility is neither towards religion nor towards nation.
Your first responsibility is towards
yourself. And just see: if everybody is loving himself,
caring about himself, his intelligence will come to its peak,
his love will be overflowing. To me, the philosophy of
selfishness will make him
really altruistic because he will have so much to share, so much
to give, that giving will become a joy to him, that sharing will
be a celebration to him. Altruism can only be a by-product of
self-love. Because you don't love yourself, you feel weak --
because love is nourishment, it is your strength.
Naturally, how can you feel responsible? You go on throwing your
responsibility on somebody else's shoulders. God is responsible,
fate is responsible, Adam and Eve are responsible. The serpent
who seduced Eve to disobey God -- that serpent is responsible.
Can you see the idiocy of all this dumping your responsibility
on somebody? -- a serpent, perhaps millions of years ago.... I
have tried hard to make some little conversation with a serpent,
with a snake -- they don't speak. In fact, they don't even hear.
I discovered that serpents don't have ears, ears are not part of
their physiology. And if they cannot hear, how
can they speak? And how could they persuade Eve? But we have to
dump our responsibility on somebody else. Adam dumps it on Eve.
Eve dumps it on the serpent. The serpent -- if he could speak --
would dump it on God. This way we go on throwing our
responsibility, without understanding that unless your are
responsible for yourself you are not truly an individual.
Shirking responsibility is destructive to your individuality.
But you can accept responsibility only when you have tremendous
love for yourself. I accept my responsibility, and I rejoice in
it. I have never dumped my responsibility on anybody else,
because that is losing freedom, that is becoming enslaved, at
the mercy of others. Whatsoever I am, I am wholly and solely
responsible for it. This gives me a great strength. It gives me
roots, centering. But the source of this responsibility is, I
I have also been through the same type of mass exploitation. But
from the very beginning I made it clear that if I am going to be
pushed into heaven I will refuse it. Of my own will I am ready
to go to hell. At least I will have my independence, my choice.
My parents, my teachers, my professors struggled with me. But I
said, "One thing is certain: I cannot accept any bribery to
become a slave. I would rather suffer for the whole eternity in
hellfire, but I will remain myself. At least that much joy I
will have -- that this is my choice, nobody has forced me."
Taken as a prisoner into paradise, do you think you can enjoy
it? Going into paradise following Jesus Christ, or Moses, or
Buddha, or Krishna -- what kind of paradise will that be, where
you are expected to be blind believers; you cannot ask a
question, you cannot inquire about anything. That paradise will
be worse than hell. But people have been distracted from their
very source. I want you to come back home.
Respect yourself. Feel the joy and the pride that existence
needs you; otherwise you would not have been here. Rejoice that
existence cannot be without you. In the first place that's why
you are here: existence has given you an
opportunity, a life with tremendous treasures hidden within you
-- of beauty, of ecstasy, of freedom. But you are not
existential! You are Christian, you are Buddhist, you are Hindu.
And I want you only to believe in one thing: existence. There is
no need to go to any synagogue or any church.
If you cannot experience the sky, the stars, the sunset, the
sunrise, the flowers blossoming, the birds singing.... The whole
of existence is a sermon! Not prepared by some stupid priest --
it is all over the place. You just need to trust yourself; that
is another name for loving yourself. And when you trust and love
yourself, obviously you have taken all the responsibility of
whatever you are, whoever you are, upon your own shoulders. That
gives such a tremendous experience of being that nobody can
enslave you again.
Can you see the beauty of an individual who is capable of
standing on his own feet? And whatever happens -- joy or sorrow,
life or death -- the man who has loved himself is so integrated
that he will be able not only to enjoy life, he will be able to
enjoy death too. Socrates was punished by his society. People
like Socrates are bound to be punished, because they are
individuals and they don't allow anybody to dominate them. He
was given poison. He was lying in the bed and the man who was
going to give him poison was preparing it.
The sun was setting -- that was the right time. The court had
given the exact time, but the man was delaying in preparing the
poison. Socrates asked the man, "Time is passing, the sun is
setting -- what is the delay?"
The man could not believe that somebody who is going to die is
so particular about the right time for his own death. In fact,
he should be thankful for the delay. The man loved Socrates. He
had heard him in the court and seen the beauty of the person: he
alone had more intelligence than the whole of Athens.
He wanted to delay a little more so Socrates could live a little
more. But Socrates would not allow him. He said, "Don't be lazy.
Just bring the poison."
The man giving poison to Socrates asked him, "Why are you so
excited? I see such radiance on your face, I see such enquiry in
your eyes. Don't you understand? -- you are going to Die."
Socrates said, "That's what I want to know. Life, I have known.
It was beautiful; with all its anxieties, anguishes, still it
was a joy. Just to breathe is joy enough. I have lived, I have
loved; I have done whatever I wanted to do, I have said whatever
I wanted to say. Now I want to taste death -- and the sooner the
"There are only two possibilities: either my soul will go on
living in other forms as the Eastern mystics say -- that is a
great excitement, to go on that journey of the soul free from
the burden of the body. The body is a cage, it has limitations.
Or perhaps the materialists are right, that when your body dies
everything dies. Nobody remains afterwards. That too, is a great
excitement -- not to be!
"I know what it means to be, and the moment has come to know
what it means not to be. And when I am no more, what is the
problem? Why should I be worried about it? I will not be there
to worry, so why waste time now?"
This is the man who loves himself. Even the responsibility of
death he has chosen -- because the court had nothing against
him; it was just public prejudice, the prejudice of the mediocre
people who could not understand the great flights of
intelligence of Socrates. But they were in the majority, and
they all decided on death for Socrates.
They could not answer a single argument proposed by him. I think
they could not even understand what he was saying -- answering
was out of the question. And he destroyed all their arguments;
still, it was a city democracy -- the people decided that this
man is dangerous, he should be given poison. What was his fault?
His fault was that "He makes our youth rebellious, he makes our
youth skeptical, he makes our youth strange. He creates a gap
between the older generation and the younger generation.
They don't listen to us anymore, they argue about everything --
and it is because of this man."
But the judges were a little better than the common people. They
said to Socrates, "We give you a few alternatives. If you leave
Athens and promise never to come back again, you can save
yourself from death. Or, if you want to remain in Athens, then
stop speaking, go into silence. Then too we can persuade the
people to let you live. Otherwise, the third alternative is:
tomorrow as the sun sets you will have to drink poison."
What did Socrates do? He said, "I am ready to take the poison
tomorrow or today, whenever the poison is ready, but I cannot
stop saying the truth. If I am alive I will go on saying it till
my last breath. And I cannot leave Athens just to save myself,
because then I will feel always a weakling who became afraid of
death, who escaped death, who could not take the responsibility
of death also. I have lived according to my own thinking,
feeling, being; I want to die that way also.
"And don't feel guilty. Nobody is responsible for my death, I am
responsible. I knew that it was going to happen, because to talk
about truth in a society which lives on lies, deceptions,
illusions, is to ask for death. Don't blame these poor people
who have decided for my death. If anybody is responsible, I am.
And I want you all to know that I lived on my responsibility,
and I am dying on my responsibility. "Living, I was an
individual. Dying, I am an individual. Nobody decides for me; I
am decisive about myself."
This is dignity. This is integrity. This
is what a human being should be. And if the whole earth
is full of people like this man, we can make this earth so
beautiful, so ecstatic, so abundant in everything.... But the
individual is missing, so you have to take responsibility for
yourself. But you will be able to take it only if you start
loving whatever you are: this is the way existence wanted you to
be. If existence wanted another Jesus Christ, it would have
created one. To be Christian is ugly, to be Mohammedan is ugly,
to be Hindu is ugly.
Be yourself, just yourself, simply yourself. And remember, you
are taking a great risk when you declare that you are simply
yourself. You don't belong to any crowd, any herd. These are all
herds: Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, communists. You are
declaring yourself an individual, knowing perfectly well that it
is risky. The crowd may not forgive you at all. But it is so
beautiful to take the risk, to move on the razor's edge where
every step is dangerous. The more dangerously you live, the more
And it is possible to live, in a single moment, the whole
eternity, if you are ready to live with totality, risking all
and everything. I don't want you to be a businessman, I want you
to be a gambler. And when you are gambling, put everything at
stake. Don't save anything for the next moment. Then whatever
happens will bring great blessing to you. Even if you become a
beggar, your being will be far more dignified than that of an
emperor. Man cannot fall into a worse state. But he has fallen;
he has forgotten the laughter every child is born with; he has
lost his way to health and wholeness.
The door opens right this very moment -- always here now, where
life and death are continuously meeting. You have chosen death
orientation because it was in the interests of those who are in
power, and you have forgotten that life is passing by while you
are being drowned in sadness. Once Confucius was asked by a
disciple how to be happy, how to be blissful.
Confucius said, "You are asking a strange question; these things
are natural. No rose asks how to be a rose." As far as sadness
and misery are concerned, you will have enough time in your
grave; then you can be miserable to your heart's content. But
while you are alive, be totally alive. Out of this totality and
intensity will arise happiness, and a happy man certainly learns
to dance. I agree with the old Bali proverb.
We want the whole of humanity to be happy, and to be dancing,
and to be singing. Then this whole planet becomes mature,
evolves in consciousness. A sad man, a miserable man, cannot
have a very sharp consciousness; his consciousness is dim, dull,
heavy, dark. Only when you laugh heartily, suddenly like a flash
all darkness disappears.
laughter you are your authentic
self. In your sadness you have covered your original face with a fake
identity that the society expects of you. Nobody wants you to be
so happy that you start dancing in the street. Nobody wants you
to have a hearty laughter; otherwise the neighbors will start
knocking on your walls, "Stop. Misery is okay; laughter is a
disturbance." Miserable people cannot tolerate anybody who is
The only crime of people like Socrates was that they were
immensely happy people, and their happiness created immense envy
in the great masses which are living in misery. The masses could
not tolerate such happy people; they have to be destroyed
because they provoke inside you a possibility of revolt, and you
are afraid of that revolt. Once a man falls in love with
rebellion, he is on the right path.
Osho Articles on Women:
Osho on Woman
Osho - I still
don't accept myself
Osho on Nice Qualities
Osho on Qualities of the
Osho on Motherly
Qualities of woman
Osho discourse on
Osho on Special
Meditations for Women
Responsibility of being a Mother
Osho on Mother duty in Child
Osho - I don't like Myself,
Specially my Body
Osho - Woman should not try to
Osho on Pain
of Witch and Beauty of Witches
- why do you ask people to get Married
Osho on greatest need of
- Osho on Trusting oneself
and stop doing Imitation
Osho on Female Creativity - Female
Woman destructive attitude during Periods
Osho discourse on Being an
Artist rather than a Mother
Osho - Whenever a Child is born, the
Mother is also Born
- Every man is
a woman too and Every woman is a Man too
People are suffering from Inferiority Complex
- Osho - Can you say
something about the mystery of Women
- Osho on Men living
(love) with two women at the same time
- Osho on
creativity, discipline and living a bohemian side of life
Why is it so difficult
and scary to show your Feelings and Just to be Yourself?
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