Updated: Oct 10, 2020
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix
For a research class I'm in this semester, I've been thinking a lot about which problems the world needs the most help solving. One of the major ones that keeps popping up for me is the polarization of just about everything, especially in the United States.
I think a lot of the problem stems from fear and, quite often, a lack of self-love. After all, if we can't love, accept, or understand ourselves, then I suppose we shouldn't be surprised if we don't always love, accept, or understand others. This is why I feel so passionate about self-awareness because I strongly feel it leads to self-love and self-acceptance, which we can then extend to everyone around us.
I'll be honest though, even in writing this right now, I am judging and critiquing myself. Am I ridiculously cliché? Will people read this aloud to their friends to mock me for fun? (We've all been there, right?) Will talking about loving ourselves and loving others, even (if not especially) strangers, somehow lessen the importance of the joy that couples feel on this day? Will I seem pseudo-intellectual and preachy? (Probably, ugh.) Will they know that I'm just genuinely wanting to throw some love and positivity out into the world?
And I could keep going.
See, the self-criticism has the potential to be endless. It's exhausting, and I'm tired of it. And honestly, it's so self-centered. I think we (read: I) keep so much to ourselves out of fear of what others will think. But what if what we have to share could help someone else?
As for me, I am so tired of hiding from my own weirdness. Maybe my weirdness is something some of you could relate to, and then maybe you'd feel even a little bit less alone if I shared it. So maybe I should let it show more often than I probably already do. Maybe we all should.
At a women's brunch yesterday, we all laughed knowingly as we shared about our fears surrounding saying "no," not speaking eloquently enough in front of a group, sharing the things we have created with the world, and not feeling successful in the pursuit of our passions and purpose. We all fear judgment and being disliked. Deep down, we all fear that we might be failures.
Wow. If we all consciously realized this all the time, we would be in a never-ending group hug, in a constant state of consoling one another. But I suppose we don't have time for that, so we often turn that awareness off. It's just easier sometimes, I imagine. I hate that I do it. And I rarely use the word "hate." It seems too strong most of the time, but it feels fitting here.
In thinking about Valentine's Day specifically, I was focused a lot on what love really is and how it shows up in our lives -- in the form of family, friends, etc. And then I came across this quote for probably the hundredth time:
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." - Dalai Lama XIV
It made me think about the fact that love (or at least the potential for it) is always there, in our every interaction with every single person with whom we cross paths. At every opportunity to exhibit kindness, we have the choice to choose and share love.
So yes, some of us are in romantic relationships and some of us are not, and some of us have close family members or super best friends we are celebrating with today or some of us do not. All of these scenarios are possible and have their own pros and cons depending on what day you ask any of us how we are feeling. However, no matter the exact circumstances, we all have each other. We are all in this together. We are all in love. With ourselves. With one another. With the world.
I know that loving ourselves is something we feel we should shy away from because it has the potential to seem narcissistic. So of course there are limits. But I truly believe that most of us are nowhere near hitting those. Kindness to ourselves is a form of kindness to others -- because the more love we feel, the more love we share.
Happy Valentine's Day! I love you (and all your weirdness), and I hope you do, too! ❤
"'Whatever makes you weird, is probably your greatest asset." - Joss Whedon