Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

love yourself like your life depends on it - kamal ravikantA friend thought I’d like Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant and boy was she right.

I immediately put into place Kamal’s mantra “I love myself.”

I could hear myself already beginning to say it with Kamal as I was reading the first half of the book last night.

I love myself.

So simple. I like simple and easy.

In some ways, it’s the book I wish I’d written, but the message I’m working on isn’t quite clear yet.

Yet, there were so many congruencies Kamal wrote about that align with my own beliefs.

Perhaps the biggest is when he writes about the “grooves” in our brain that we learn as children. They become instilled beliefs and represent the way we deal with the world.

I’ve had the same vision; I’ve even used the word “grooves” as I pictured them in my own brain.

It’s the same as when I read David Hanscomb’s Back In Control:

The pathways in our brain our permanent. But they can be changed.

I’d already seen evidence of this through my work with expressive writing.

I’d been to the library and to Powell’s bookstore seeking books on reprogramming my self-conscious.

I bought a book or two and checked out several others, but there was no easy to follow guidance.

Until Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It came into my life.

And it is so simple and makes so much sense.

Here I was trying to undo old lessons I’ve learned about fear, rejection and trying to be perfect. I already knew these lessons had been reinforced by my own thoughts.

Yes, the expressive writing helped a lot. By getting things OUT, down on paper, and subsequently sent to the garbage, I was healing my habits of overthinking and dwelling on the negative thoughts that lead to feeling crappy and depressed.

But I still wanted to reprogram my self conscious at a low level and didn’t know how to do it.

Kamal showed me, “I love myself.”

Two more things with regard to this, my new mantra.

  1. Fake it until you make it. I’ve always hated this phrase, but it is true. I paraphrase Kamal: “Say it to yourself even if you don’t believe it or if it seems weird.” Thank you for giving me permission to do that. Because I know I won’t always believe it.
  2. Practice! Paraphrasing Kamal in my own words again: We never arrive and stop the practicing. The practice is the journey. I think I’ve had it in my head that I would arrive at a place called “happy” if I just kept doing this or that. Now, I see there is no end. But that the practice is what helps us get better. The practice is what helps us maintain. The practice is what helps us soar when we feel good. And the practice is what brings us back to foundation when we’re going through a tough stretch.

So, I began last night and I hope I keep going. As I was drifting off to sleep, I’m repeating in my head, “I love myself.”

My mind drifts to something else. When I become aware of it drifting, I bring it back to the mantra.

Over and over again.

When I woke up too early this morning, there it was again. So, I repeated it to myself as I lay in bed, hoping to fall asleep again.

When I walked downstairs to let my dog out, “I love myself. I love myself.”

When I walked to the store today to buy groceries, in between listening to Eminem on my headphones, I remembered: “I love myself.”

A simple thought.

One that I want to ingrain. A thought I hope creates a new, permanent groove in my subconscious, so my life gets better.

There were other points from Love Yourself where I felt as if Kamal were speaking for me.

Love Yourself First

I’ve always believed I needed to help myself first before I helped others.

I’ve explained my sentiment the same way Kamal does – the airplane announcement.

Put your oxygen mask on first before you attempt to put on the mask of others.

It always struck me how intuitively backward that seemed. After all, we’re taught to have compassion and to not be selfish and to place the needs of others (especially children or those who can’t help themselves) prior to our own needs.

I’ve always felt differently.

When I read the Dalai Lama’s book many years ago, all I recall was him going on and on about compassion. It didn’t ring true.

Now I know why. I didn’t have compassion for myself.

It all starts with me.

I think it’s why I’ve struggled in relationships – I was looking for an external solution for something that was internal.

I’ve told my daughter it’s a big reason why I didn’t raise her. I wanted to go out and make money and not have anything get in the way of that.

I know it sounds shallow, but it was my reality. I needed to feel secure myself before I could offer security to others.

So, perhaps I need to learn to love myself before I can love someone else.

It makes sense to me. It feels right.

We’ll have to see what happens.

Who Am I To Give Advice

Another area I feel in the same room with Kamal is the feeling of “Who am I to give advice?”

I might be feeling good about this now, but I haven’t arrived anywhere. I’m not all better.

I’m still on the journey, learning as I go.

Kamal says about the same, in not so many words.

It’s why on this blog I try to be careful to not use the word “You” as if to imply, “you should do this.”

I try to stick with “I” or “me” or “we” because I don’t want to tell anyone how to do anything. I don’t want to push.

I’ve done a lot of pushing and giving unsolicitied advice in my life, and sometimes still do, but it doesn’t feel good to do that.

Sometimes, I can barely refrain myself. I’m just chomping at the bit to share a strategy I think will help someone. I’m trying to help fix.

But no one’s asking.

I’m trying to do better. I know how it feels to receive unsolicited advice, to have someone give me their judgements or opinion. I don’t like it. It feels invalidating. It feels like they weren’t listening.

So, I’m trying to be a better listener. I’m trying to hold my advice unless it’s ask for. I’m a judger, so I’m practicing holding onto that, too.

Some of my friends/family are really skilled at it and those are the ones I go back to time and again when I have a problem and I just need to vent.

They just listen. They give advice if I ask for it. Otherwise, they listen. And I appreciate it.

Cos sometimes all I need to do is get it out. It helps me work it out if I can speak it.

Wrapping Up

I’m not an expert in self-help.

But I do think I have an interesting life, for better or for worse.

I’m continuing to use this blog as practice for what I one day hope will be a book.

As I told the same friend last night who gave me this book – I’m heading in a direction, maybe to teach, to speak, and/or to write and I’m not clear on what the message is yet. I’m not sure where the bullseye is. It’s not clear. But I am aiming. I have begun to go in a direction that I hope one day will find the mark.

I guess that will be the day when something I’ve written or said has inspired someone that they can change their life the way I’m trying to change mine.

Thank you to Kamal Ravikant for bringing home the simple message I’ve been lacking and thank you for telling me exactly how to do it.