The author of What Are You Hungry For? shows us how to face down our inner critic—and start accepting (and admiring) ourselves for who we are. By Deepak Chopra how to love yourself unconditionally – A mother loves her newborn child without reservation, and romantic love, in its first stages of infatuation, can make the beloved seem perfect. But most of us doubt that love without reservation, love completely forgiving and accepting, exists in our everyday lives. Looking in the mirror, all of us see too many flaws and remember too many past wounds and failings to love ourselves without also putting a limit on that love. In order to expand the love you experience now into unconditional love, you need to involve a spiritual element. There is a path to unconditional love, as with any spiritual aspiration, and on this path there is a beginning, middle and end. Let me describe each a little to give you an idea of how the path unfolds. Beginning: You see yourself as wanting and needing love, usually more than you are receiving. You feel insecure about being lovable, but your ego is there to boost you (or not). You love others, for the most part, according to how much they love you or appeal to your sense of romance, sexuality and compatibility. Relationships involve a constant negotiation between what you want and what your partner wants. The words that apply to this love include the following: passion, attachment, dependency, merging, romance, mutual need, liking and compatibility. Middle: When you aspire to a higher kind of love, ego and neediness begin to count for much less. You feel that love can be a healing force that binds everyone. You can love someone else without needing anything from him or her. Such love begins to be less personal and attached. Your awareness expands, and you feel less insecure. Love becomes more mature and peaceful. Relationships involve mutual appreciation; there are fewer conflicts between two defensive personalities. The words that apply to this love include the following: idealistic, calm, unselfish, giving, empathic, forgiving and accepting. End: When all limitations are left behind, love becomes unconditional. You feel that it emerges from a spiritual source inside yourself. This is more than a feeling; you’ve tapped into a universal aspect of Being. No longer do you have a personal stake in the people you love. Pure compassion is possible now and a sense of belonging to the human family. Relationships involve no struggle or contending needs and wants. Love becomes a self-sufficient state of fulfillment. The words that apply to this love include the following: blissful, transcendent, saintly, luminous, ecstatic and boundless.