Some may hate to describe themselves as self-loving because we have been told that this is narcissistic. That there is an element of wantonness in admitting: “I am a wonderful person and I Love myself”
Striving for authenticity in thought and action is the first mature step in self-evolution. We feel alienated from others because we don’t show our real selves for fear of rejection. The result is internal dissonance. We can connect with our inner selves only when we peel off all masks. To accept the totality of our being, we must become compassionate towards ourselves. Accepting our negativity is an integral part of the human experience; we can then extend this to others. This is true compassion.
The American philosopher, Emerson makes a valid point in his essay On Self-reliance: “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”
Ironically, we spend a major part of our lives with a begging bowl, pleading for love from others. We believe that we will feel better if people love us. But the love I want begins with me. I can experience real love only when I fill myself with love…and am willing to give it to others. The more I give, the more I receive.
All our life’s experiences comprise an endless learning act. We merely need the willingness. We must all learn to bypass the cacophony of the world to reach into the silence of our soul. In order to love… in order to be happy… we must learn to be present in each moment. Don’t keep your happiness on hold. Hey, Life is not a dress rehearsal. Now is the only time we have.
If we work for them, all our material dreams can be achieved. But if what we seek is something beyond, something that endures within us, we must give priority to love and happiness. We are willing to invest time and money in the pursuit of material gains. But, we don’t do the same to establish love, happiness and peace of mind. If only each of us could pray to alleviate the pain and suffering of others, we could make that vital connection with the real us.
In his book Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukav asks his readers not to pass value judgment or censure anybody. If we do so, we in turn will be judged by the universe and penalized accordingly. Judgments build walls between people, create hostility. When negative thoughts intrude, break its flow by repeating to yourself words such as love, joy and harmony. Words weave patterns in our lives. Build up a vocabulary of words that have positive connotations.
Tomorrow really never comes. We have only today, maybe only this fleeting minute. So let us be grateful for every moment that comes our way. Many successful people began and ended their day by an act of gratitude. The universe, God —call it what you will—has been magnanimous with us today.
So let us close our eyes, recall every happy moment that we have experienced, and thank this power with all our heart. As gratitude and appreciation grow and fill your life, you will learn how to sincerely love yourself for what you really are.
There is not a single person in this universe who leads a problem-free life. Yet we encounter people whose lives appear dynamic and joyous. What sets them apart? The answer: they do not allow themselves to be immobilized by little things. They respond to problems with ease, change things that can be changed and accept those that can’t. In the process, they come closer to the wisdom of discernment.
Contemporary wisdom would have us believe that packing each day with things that need to be done is the secret of success. But Life isn’t all about getting things done as much as it is about enjoying each step along the way. Many a marital discord erupts from couples’ obsession with getting everything done in record time and to perfection. If, on the other hand, I ask myself each night: “Has my Life made a little bit of difference to at least one person?” and hear a resounding “Yes!” in reply, all the things I haven’t managed to do over the day would not matter at all.