Tantra is the art and science of love in all its aspects and facets. As such, it cultivated and builds on our ability to love. However, one of the prerequisites to being able to love another is the ability to love oneself. Without the ability to love and cherish yourself, you will not be able to love and cherish your partner.
If your purpose of learning tantra with a tantra teacher is to achieve greater sexual proficiency, that too will fail if you cannot love yourself. To put it succinctly – you cannot see and treat your partner as a tantra goddess or tantric god if you see yourself as something less than divine.
Ancient tantra teaches us that sexual energy is nothing but an amplification of the vitality that is already present within us. Tantric sex is an act of worship – the highest form of cherishing – and love is therefore inalienable from it. If you do not love yourself, the superficiality and falseness of the love you show your partner will be very evident. If you have not learned to love yourself, you cannot love another simply because the very concept of love is alien to you.
Your tantra teacher will have taught you that love is positive energy – tantra energy – and it is this love which forms and completes tantric lovemaking. Sex which comes from hate is nothing but abuse, and the root of all sexual perversions. If you hate yourself, you cannot engage in a loving intimate encounter with another.
Sex under such circumstances is a perversion – and act of exploitation. You are making the other person a partner is your self-loathing. A relationship built on such emotions can never transcend the level of bestiality.
If you perceive any negative emotions about yourself – in other words, if you suffer from lack of self-esteem and poor self-image – discuss these feelings with your tantra teacher at the very outset. There are specific tantric meditation techniques and rituals which can cleanse you of these feelings.
It is important that you take your tantra master into confidence on such matters – not as a psychiatrist, but as your spiritual guide. Self-hate is a spiritual malady which can be cured by spiritual methods.
Poor self-worth often comes from the flawed impressions that society and organized religion burden us with. We are taught to see ourselves as inherently bad, and in need of redemption and forgiveness. We have done nothing wrong, but are taught that the very nature of humanity is sinful and defiled. Nothing could be further from what the tantric scriptures teach us – that we are indeed divine; a part of celestial Whole.
Once you have reached a stage where you perceive yourself as a worthy player in the cosmic dance, your world opens up and new dimensions of bliss and joy are yours to explore. You are reborn in the purifying light of spiritual truth and are now able to claim your divine self.