I was fifteen years old when I first fell in love with a boxer named Muhammad Ali. I know that might sound strange, but I assure you, I’m not the only one that loves the man who was once The Heavyweight Champion of the World. He has, however, always been much more than just a boxer to me and millions of others, and here’s why. The self-love he showed as a young man changed when he started to grow spiritually and as person, and as a result, he began to show more kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others, and slowly learned to love people unconditionally.
It’s been over 35 years since I began my love affair with the man who called himself “The Greatest.” And although he may not be the athlete he once was, I know his beliefs allow him to love who he is today. Of course at 52, I’m certainly not the athlete I once was either, but I can also say I love who I am today. It may have taken me awhile to achieve this self-love, but I did it the same way Ali did; through spiritual and personal growth.
When we try to grow on a continual basis, we begin to love ourselves enough to be happy with who we are, and eventually we love ourselves unconditionally. When we love ourselves unconditionally, it holds the promise of some day being able to love others unconditionally as well.
It may have taken Muhammad Ali time to be able to show everyone kindness, understanding, and tolerance. But the type of self-love he eventually possessed, not only allowed him to do those things at a greater level than most, it also allowed him to love “all” people unconditionally. That’s why learning to love ourselves truly is the greatest love of all.