Do You Love Yourself?
The first time I read Kamal Ravikant’s “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”, I missed a whole chunk of the book. I can’t remember any of it. I started listening again this week.
I don’t know if it’s the author’s soothing voice, but I had to take regular breaks to reflect on what he was saying.
At some point, I realized I would not be able to get the full message of the book without completing the simple exercises.
I have read a lot in my life and always succeed to forget half of what I read; I feel I do this to myself so I can buy more books and “feel” smart instead of reading more slowly, taking more notes and learning from each book.
It’s as though I fear that if I ever finally found the answers I was looking for, I won’t have a reason to hide behind my book stacks.
What would I talk about if I don’t know what the new bestseller is about?
In the book, Kamal talks about simple things he did, when he was at rock bottom, to get back to a life that he can only describe as “magic”. It started with a small whisper :
I love myself.
Said to himself, over and over. He inadvertently created a grove in his brain, deeper than the feeling of dejectedness he had. He moved to repeat it under his breath, then in the shower, then as a meditation practice.
I’m not doing the book justice, trust me.
What hit me, was when he mentioned the exercise of looking at yourself in the mirror, “preferably the left eye”, he said, and tell yourself :
“I love you”.
Not really, if you’re in a place in your life when you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get back to where you know you can be.
How often do we say this to ourselves?
I’m quick to say it to my wife. I even say it now to my little brother ( who finds it incredibly “uncool”) and my mother started saying it to us a few years ago. Born and raised in Cameroon, for a parent — or even a sibling to say “I love you”, is not the norm.
It’s a “white people” thing.
How then do we learn how to say it to ourselves?
If we consider a simple axiom: “if you mean it, say it”, does this mean we hardly ever mean it?
Kamal is making me pay more attention to myself. The same way William Beteet III mentioned in an episode of the James Altucher show — he learned to love his body by looking at the mirror and talking to himself about why he loved each part of his body.
Fun fact, Kamal and James are friends and in the book’s intro, Kamal says it’s James who convinced him to publish the book
Something Mr. Beteet III brought up which I could see in connection with Kamal, was how we, as humans, have been raised/formed/primed throughout our lives to not really see ourselves.
Even when we’re grooming, we pay attention to the eyelashes, hairline, beard level.
I know I do this. I only look at my face to see what’s wrong so I can fix it ( or to find a reason to tell my wife my lips aren’t that cracked).
When do we ever stop to look into our own eyes and give ourselves that which we so badly want to give others?
As I am learning now, it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t have to accomplish anything special to give to myself.
It might seem that this means accepting who you are and not doing anything to improve yourself.
So, I’ll ask you the question Kamal asks when faced with a decision that may seem painful at the moment:
If I really loved myself, will I be doing this?
And this, right here, is why I think loving oneself has been poorly expressed.
If you have a habit you want to stop, or you’re beating yourself about being overweight, or you’re about to snooze, or you know you can make more money — if you worked a little hard or organized yourself a little better — this question can be what gives you the clarity to make better decisions.
Would you take that extra soda if you loved yourself?
Would you sleep in when you know you could use a few hours to write on your blog?
Would you stay mad at something that happened in the past?
Would you allow yourself to work at a job you don’t like for your whole life?
Loving ourselves means doing what’s best for us. It means taking responsibility, treating yourselves like our best friends and doing the hard things because we know we have it in us to accomplish them.
There’s the warped idea that it means being soft and complacent. I totally disagree.
When you love yourself, you will rise to your own expectations and realize that you cannot give what you don’t have.
Maybe this is even the reason why we can’t love others fully. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid of loving ourselves- of putting our needs first, of cleaning up our messes and accepting, finally, that no one is coming to save us.
That no one can love us the way we love ourselves.
So, tell me, do you love yourself?
Do you look in the mirror and appreciate all of who you are, faults and all?
Do you accept that you could make better decisions and then choose to make them, for yourself?
Do you stop waiting for the life of your dreams and start living it right now?
Self-love is how you fill your bucket. It’s how you realize that your body and mind are a gift and it’s your duty to lift it up to the highest possible level of excellence.
When you love yourself, you realize that this whole world is for you.
And that everyone in it, is you too. Put your oxygen mask first, so you can help others.
When you truly see and love yourself, the limits to love others are unleashed.