Thursday, January 19, 2012

Self - Love Part I

A ‘real’ relationship

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How is it that in a society so obsessed with all aspects of social life can also so deeply promote a detrimentally poor relationship with the one person that a relationship most matters?

We are encouraged to have copious lovers and friends.  We are reminded that it is ‘all who you know’.  We are immersed in social situations for the mere purpose of ‘being social’.  We go so far as to immerse ourselves in the lives of celebrities – people whom we will never truly ‘know’. 

And yet, we do not love, respect, nor give due attention to our selves.  In fact, the concept of ‘self-love’ or a ‘relationship with yourself’ sounds new-agey at best and wildly, absurdly self-indulgent at worst.  I mean, if you were to claim “My best friend is myself”, how many eye rolls could you expect?

We beat ourselves up.  We criticize ourselves.  We obsess.  We tell ourselves we cannot, will not, should not, will never.  We focus on our failures and ignore our successes - unless they are recognized by other.  We perceive the tiniest and most unimportant flaws in our physiques, in our routines, in our choices, in our capacities.

It was revolutionary to me when I read a quote from an Elizabeth Gilbert book emphasizing that she had discovered (in a manner equally revolutionary to her at the time) that happiness exists not outside ourselves as society dutifully pronounces, but inside ourselves – as a choice, a mindset, a life style.  Even those who ‘have everything’, from a top line car to a progressive career still report deep dissatisfaction.  Still think that their bodies are imperfect, that they don’t have it as good as the next person.  It is not in the having and it is not even in relationships with others.  Undoubtedly, both of these things hold the power to add to a very happy life.  But they cannot create, foster, or sustain our own individual happiness.

Happiness comes from within.  It is impermanent and must be lovingly maintained.  Our own negative thoughts tear us apart far more than a slight from a co-worker.  Yet we have become so accustomed to a focus on ‘outside happiness’ that it seems ridiculous to focus on self-love.  Why, in fact, it even seems selfish to focus on our own positives, our own abilities, our own attributes and successes.  It is more in line with society to have a fat day or remind yourself that you aren’t getting the salary you wanted by age thirty or that you didn’t make it to the gym.
There is so much to say about self-love.  My journey has only begun , there is much to learn and the path winds on... so I can not complete this post.  Te be continued... :)

                                                         winding mountain road
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