Learn to love yourself

There will be times in Life when the world will convince you that you are a parasite. That you are good-for-nothing. That you are a burden on your immediate family, society and perhaps the planet. People will opinionate, judge you and condemn you. You will find everyone difficult to deal with because people have either formed their opinions or they have no time for you. Either way no one wants to have anything to do with you. In their eyes, you have either failed financially, morally, emotionally or physically. The truth may be different. You may have a story to say. But no one’s listening.

Learn, through such times, and in such moments, to first love yourself. Understand that Life destroys nobody. Life has given you the opportunity and experience of this lifetime. What you are faced with is a part of your own Life’s design. Good or bad, in Life’s parlance an experience is an experience. You label it good or bad basis your definitions of what you want and what you don’t. Your acceptance delivers you joy and your resistance brings you grief. So, if you peel off your responses to an experience, you can detach yourself further from it. Then irrespective of what is happening to you, you remain untouched. When you are so insulated, it is possible to value yourself, love yourself and celebrate yourself, no matter what people say about you and what you are faced with!

The reason why such a simple learning doesn’t easily get understood is because of our conditioning. Over years, you__and I__have been told that how the world views you is important to your survival in society. Right from clothing ourselves to getting good grades through school, to impressing people around us in our teens to work titles on our business cards to flaunting our class of travel, we have become masters of living for the world. There is a bizarre selflessness that governs our existence. But what is the point in being selfless, and living for others, when you are all the time grieving that you are not being yourself and are not able to live the Life that you really want to?

I learned this lesson the hard way. Only after I had wasted much of my early years trying to please many people, working towards being seen as someone ‘nice, good and honorable’. Then, through a series of events, and experiences, I learned that those who seek honesty from others hardly practice it themselves. That to condemn those in distress is sometimes a ruthless pastime that the worthless and insensitive indulge in. I discovered that what other people say or do, about your Life, does not__and should not__make a difference to the way you think, live and work__as long as you are true to yourself. I concluded that in trying to live your Life by someone else’s rules, you are actually punishing yourself.

To be sure, you have not been created to be punished. The purpose of your creation is to enjoy this experience, to be happy, to celebrate, to live. So, don’t try to please others by living a Life for them while dying every minute yourself. Love the Life that you have been given. Begin by loving yourself.

Understand who you are – Know that you are not this body, not your physical assets, not your educational qualifications, not your bank balance, your business title or your achievements, records or feats. So, if you have lost all of them, you have lost nothing. Because you came with nothing. So losing what you never came with, and what you will never go with, is losing nothing! You are above all these material markers. You are the Universal energy that’s powering you and keeping you alive.

Understand that Life is the only God – A lot of your Life’s situations get confounded when you begin to yearn for a savior to come and extricate you from your abyss. The truth is there is no savior. You have to save yourself by applying your common sense. That common sense should tell you that since you are alive, and are being powered by the Universal energy, you have the only God that there is, which is Life, in you!

Understand that unless you live, you can’t do much to change the world – You surely do have dreams. And you dream of leaving the world a better place than you found it. No, you may not want to change the world the way a Gandhi or Mother Teresa did. But your own little world, your family, you do want to have impacted positively in your lifetime. And that you can do only when you survive. Or to use an aviation analogy, you can help others only if you first wear the oxygen mask on yourself!

Despite all the abundance around us, people have stopped counting their blessings. Instead they wallow in their, often self-inflicted, miseries. By giving too much credence to what people have to say about you, you are only allowing yourself to be drowned in that sea of hopelessness and scarcity. Instead break free. Love yourself. Remember this: Life needs you to fulfill your Life’s purpose. That’s why you have been created! When you steel yourself against the depressive sentiments that sometimes the world may heap on you, you will find the ability, the energy, and the opportunity to heal and make a difference__surely, as long as you are alive and, at times, long after you are gone! As Oscar Wilde (1854~1900) has said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”  

Be cool, bliss will follow!

Be cool. And you will be in bliss!

Sometimes you have no choice but to accept the Life given to you. You have tried everything humanly possible to fix your situation. To solve your problem. But the problem refuses to let go of you. Be cool in such times! Be in bliss.  


How can you be cool when someone you love is dying? How can you be cool when your teenaged child is insistent on being in a relationship that you know is ruinous? How can you be cool when your companion is cheating on you? How can you be cool when the world, perhaps your world, is inching towards an apocalypse?  How can you be cool when there is so much injustice around you, when people are being selfish, cold and cruel?

Good questions. But think about it. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice! You simply will have to accept the reality of what is, take a deep breath and attempt a new solution if you can think of one, or simply wait for time to turn. Which is, wait for your time to change! Intelligent living is never about applying YOUR intelligence to Life. It is about being intelligent in letting Life be. There is an ancient Zen saying: “Even in a fire the man who has attained satori remains cool.‘satori’means enlightenment. And this doesn’t mean wearing an ochre robe and growing a flowing beard or shaving your head of. It means being aware of the intrinsic nature of Life!

There’s a story which comes to mind. A wise sage had heard of the Captain Cool legend of the famous King Janaka who ruled from Mithila (present day Janakpur, Nepal) over Videha. Janaka was known for never being flustered with any situation. And so, like Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he was called Captain Cool. The sage was intrigued by Janaka’s legend and so came calling one day. The King received the sage with full honors and left him in the guest room of his palace and promised to return after attending to important matters in his court. The sage meanwhile bathed and freshened up. He had only his loin cloth on him which he washed and left to dry in the sun. He stitched a small skirt of mango leaves to cover himself and sat in deep meditation. Janaka finished his meetings and came to the sage’s room. When he saw the sage in deep meditation, he prayerfully sat opposite him awaiting the sage to open his eyes. An hour or so must have passed when screams rent the air.  “The palace is on fire and it has started in the kitchen abutting the guest room”, screamed someone. The King remained unruffled. There was a lot of noise and smoke around them but he kept sitting focusing his gaze on the sage. The sage leapt up when he made sense of what people were saying and screamed at Janaka: “How can you remain so cool, when your palace is on fire? Wait! Let me save my loin cloth which I put out to dry and then we both will run for our Life!” Janaka still was non-plussed! When the sage returned in a moment with the loin cloth and the two men rushed out of the burning guest room, the sage again asked Janaka the ‘secret of his coolness’. Janaka replied: “Every moment I am ready to depart from this planet, giving up this lifetime. And I know I will take nothing with me when I go. So, why grieve over anything which is not going with me in any case?”

Indeed. Why grieve, why attach yourself to, over anything that’s not going with you in any case? So, be cool about anything that may happen to you. And surely you will be in bliss!