I came across the story of a husband and wife – king Kosala and a queen Malika – in Buddhist legend. They’re contemporaries of Buddha. The queen converted to Buddhism. The king had not, but he respected the religious convictions of his wife.
In the course of a very romantic evening, the king bent over tenderly to his wife and asked her, “Whom do you love most in all the world?” He was expecting his wife to answer “You!” Instead, the queen responded, “Well, I love my self most in all the world.”
Surprised at his wife’s response, the king said, “Oh, I must tell you that I too love my self most in all the world!” Both king and queen got dismayed by how their conversation turned out. So they went to Buddha for enlightenment.
The Buddha congratulated them for asking such a significant question. He told them that in fact each person must love himself or herself most in all the world.
Buddha explained, “If you understand this truth, you stop manipulating and exploiting between you. You will not need to defend your own worth. And by that very fact, you will not need to argue. If you love yourselves, you will free yourselves from the stumbling block of insisting that others love you.”
“Speaking of my self,” Buddha continued, “I need the love of others, but I can’t order them to love me. If my need for love is not fulfilled by others, I reassure myself that I can love myself. Thus I leave others free to love me or not.”
If you get what Buddha means exactly, it can spell a difference in your personal self esteem and wholeness.