There is something very wonderful about unconditional love. That feeling you feel when first you see your newborn child, or grandchild, or godchild. No matter what, you know that you will love that child unconditionally forever. They say that a dog is man’s best friend, but it is because of that unconditional love that they give their owner. No matter what you do, they seem to be saying, I think you are the best person in the world.
And when you have someone who believes in you like that, someone who is always in your corner, you begin to believe in yourself. When we lack that person, we spend our whole life seeking approval, looking for acknowledgement from others. Yet the truth is that the person you really need to be on your side, to believe in you, to give you that unconditional love, is you.
This week I got the same message from two different sources. My friend read a poem at the pinning ceremony for newly graduated nurses: “Start where you stand” (by Berton Braley). It was a message to begin with now, not looking back at ancient history, to create a life where you can succeed. Coincidentally, I began to read a book entitled “Start where you are” (Pema Chodron), a book of Buddhist teachings, about a life of compassionate living which begins with you.
Suppose you could love yourself unconditionally? Maybe you already do. But for many of us that is a hard concept. We are used to putting others first, taking care of everyone else’s needs but our own. But that leads to bitterness and regret, as we wait in vain for others to recognize our sacrifices. Can you really love others, if you haven’t learnt how to love yourself? The golden rule tells us to do to others as we would have them do to us. That means love others as you love yourself, which is coming back to the same message.
One of the words I struggled with when I went back to school was ‘self-efficacy’. It took me a while to be able to grasp it and use it in a sentence. But it is the concept of believing in yourself. If you don’t believe you can do something, you will fail. How many of us are doomed by the statement: “Oh no, I am no good at…” (Math is one subject that jumps to mind!). And by saying that, it becomes a fact. So turn that sentence around, and believe in yourself! Tell yourself you CAN! Remember that old poem we recited in school:
The boy who says I can
Will climb to the hilltop.
The boy who says I can’t
Will at the bottom stop!
So this morning I encourage everyone to start where you stand, begin with yourself. Show yourself some loving-kindness, some unconditional love, and you will find it easier to show it to the next person who does some crazy thing. You will find it easier to forgive others if you begin by forgiving yourself. We all need reminding that we are human; we share many of the same weaknesses and foibles.
Have a great Friday, family! Breathe in the possibilities of your life, and exhale the doubt and guilt. Breathe in unconditional love for yourself, and breathe out anger. We all benefit when the world is a kinder, more compassionate place.
One Love! Namaste!