#RRBC’s Spotlight Author for September – @JohnJFioravanti #RWISA

Hello, and welcome to the next stop on the RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour for the amazing author, John Fioravanti!

It is an honor to introduce you to John and his work!

The REFLECTIONS Blog Tour

I’m grateful to my host of this fifth post of the REFLECTIONS TOUR, and to Nonnie Jules and the #RRBC Team who arranged it all!

Reflection 26 – Love Yourself – You’re Worth It!

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

~ Buddha

Buddhism is based upon the teachings of Gautama Buddha who taught in eastern India over twenty-five centuries ago. His philosophy sought a middle way between unbridled sensuality and a-self discipline that denied any sensual pleasure. His teachings were handed down by oral tradition until put into writing four centuries later.

I read this quote twice to make sure I got it right the first time. My immediate reaction was, Really?  On reading his words a third time, there came a glimmer of understanding. As I began to see his meaning, I realized that it is my own life experience that allowed me not only to understand, but to admire his wisdom. I’m afraid that as a young man, this lesson would have completely escaped me.

We are social beings, and we search for love because it is one of our basic needs. Yet most, if not all of us, look outside of ourselves to find those worthy of our love. At this point, I’m not differentiating between familial, platonic, or romantic love relationships, because I don’t think this teaching is about any one of them. In my mind, this statement is about all of them. We look outside of ourselves for our best friends and our intimate romantic partners. What we don’t do is look within first.

Buddha is not only teaching us that we must love ourselves first, but he goes further by saying that no one is more worthy of our love than ourselves. That means that I am at least as worthy of my love as any other person I might choose. Embracing his meaning, my mind reeled… I wasn’t used to thinking along these lines!

I was raised in a culture that taught self-denial to make me worthy of God’s love. I equated self-love with selfishness – another negative characteristic that one would do well to eliminate. Christianity taught me to focus my love and good deeds outside of myself… do unto others… look after the needs of others first… are just a couple of lessons that come to mind from my early religious instruction.

How many of us grew to adulthood with a jaded view of ourselves? I was taught to control my urges – all of them – lest they lead me into sin. I’m sure this is why Buddha’s words seemed so alien to me at first; it was culture shock. When I take the time to digest this idea, it is enlightening… charity or caritas begins at home.

I’m sure we’ve all met people who suffer from self-loathing. They are not happy and they do not love others. How can they? It stands to reason that if I do not believe myself worthy of my own love, then how could I see myself as worthy of love from another; how could I trust another to be worthy of my love? On the other hand, if I accept myself, not as a perfect being, but as a worthy being, I can love myself. In loving myself, I can make choices that are good for me. I’m not talking about being self-indulgent, constantly seeking to satisfy every desire, with no consideration of the consequences. I mean that I must look after my own best interests by doing the hard work that is necessary to make me into the kind of person I wish to become! But I can’t do that unless I start by recognizing my own worthiness.

In recognizing my own worthiness to be loved by myself, I am not denying that I am a flawed being. This does not negate the fact that I get impatient easily, or that I lose my temper and hurt those around me. But I am sure that by being wise enough to love myself, I will find it easier to deal with my shortcomings more successfully. A friend has been trying to teach me this lesson for quite some time, and now, I think I understand.

In loving myself in this way, I am eminently qualified to take a lover and cherish that person in a way that testifies to their worthiness to be loved. In the same way, I am free to love another person as my best friend. Because I acknowledge my own worthiness to be loved, I can extend that caring to my best friend who will be inclined to reciprocate in kind. You reap what you sow. Because of this teaching, taken to heart and internalized, I am more open to the lessons of love – no matter what their origin.

Author Bio:

John Fioravanti is a retired secondary school educator who completed his thirty-five year career in the classroom in June, 2008.

Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.

John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle, Book One of The Genesis Saga, and is set within Kenneth Tam’s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life! Book Two is Treachery & Triumph.

At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-six years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books.

Connect with John via Twitter @johnjfioravanti

Thank you so much for dropping by today to support John and his work.  Please drop by the “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR forum at RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB to find out more about John’s time in the spotlight.

If you’d like to be featured in one of the many wonderful hot-seats held by RRBC members, we invite you to JOIN US!  We’d love to have you!

63 thoughts on “#RRBC’s Spotlight Author for September – @JohnJFioravanti #RWISA

  1. It’s so easy to overlook loving yourself, and yet, to love others, we have to start with our own heart and well being.

    Reflections is a wonderful book. It’s great to see John making the rounds again. All the best, and thanks, Jan, for hosting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for stopping by to say hello, C.S.! I’m doing well and I hope you are too. I agree, understanding the words of Buddha is no easy task. So, we do the best we can!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Congratulations, John! Wishing you a fabulous month in the Spotlight. 🙂
    I’m so grateful to own a signed copy of Reflections. I revisit it often. Thank you!
    Many thanks for hosting, Jan, as always.
    Cheers to you both! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Self-love was equated with selfishness – I can understand this thought quite well, as my culture upholds sacrifice as a virtue. If Buddha said self-love is so good, I wonder how self-denial crept into us! Things are changing now. Modern generation is more aware and chooses what suits them. Thanks for a though-provoking post Jan. John’s book must be a treasure!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Balroop. I think that Buddha thought along the same lines as Aristotle who preached the wisdom of the Golden Mean – the half-way point between excess and defect. But Buddha’s main point is that we must love ourselves before all others – but not in exclusion of others. Unfortunately, we often equate self-love with selfishness, and that, I think, is incorrect.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi, Balroop. We are taught when we are growing up that self-love equals selfishness when in truth, self-love is the beginning of the ability to give and receive love. Somehow society decided that we didn’t dare love ourselves. I’m happy that it is turning around! Thanks so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is by far the hardest thing to do and get past what we were taught as a child. I’ve spent a long time accepting I am worthy of this and it isn’t easy. It is worth it though to embrace this wisdom. I don’t think I would have understood it years ago either. Love seems to be our most important challenge and choice. Very insightful post John.

    Thanks for hosting, Jan:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Denise. When I selected these quotes for the book, I was trying for diversity of thought. Words from thinkers of different cultures are very challenging and I enjoy the struggle to understand in the context of my own cultural upbringing. I appreciate your support!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That is SO true, Denise. As a child, we are taught that self-love is the same as being a selfish self-centered person. It’s not an easy process to undo that teaching so ingrained in us! Thanks so much for stopping by! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, John, Buddha should know a lot about love. How can one truly love others when they don’t love themselves? I was once accused of loving myself too much by someone who thought I should love them more 😟… Thank you, Jan, for hosting John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! That statement about needing more love in the world – just says it all, Wendy! I’m sorry to hear about the youth in New Zealand. I have no idea what the suicide rates are among our youth here in Canada. Thanks for visiting today!

      Like

    1. Yes, Ron, and I think it is so sad that this is true. Our culture has done us no favours in casting a jaundiced eye on the concept of self-love. Thanks for your support!

      Like

  6. Hi John. Many of us — particularly women of a certain generation — were raised to put the needs and desires of others above our own. I hope many people have read your thoughts here and have taken them to heart. I am looking forward to reading Reflections. Happy touring!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How sweet of you to say so, Mary! I believe we cripple ourselves emotionally when we don’t love ourselves, and that plays out in our relationships with others. I honestly think that those people who are genuine magnetic personalities are that way because they learned to love themselves and can be more effective lovers of others.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi John! If I were still in the classroom,I’d make sure every class read and discussed not only the quote but your fine analysis of it. Many kids don’t experience love, hence they search for it in all the wrong places. I’m sure your classroom was a favored place. Thanks for hosting, Jan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, I’m truly humbled, Linda! I agree with you and those kids grow up still looking in the wrong places for love. Thanks for your kind words and your support!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi John. Yes, you do have to love yourself before you can give love to anyone else. I ran into a couple of individuals who did not love themselves and so I got nothing from them. When I was in a period of not liking myself, I couldn’t do much for anyone. It all makes so much sense. I finally learned to take care of me.

    Thanks Jan for hosting and sharing. It is very busy over here.

    Liked by 2 people

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