Who loves you when you forget to love yourself?
Who whispers into your ear “hey, take it easy?” just when you need it
Who is the support that you can lean on, when your stomach has butterflies, you’re nervous, doubting yourself, thinking “can I do this thing that I have set myself?”
Who replies fervently “of course you can” and means it
And those words land like cement, strong and reassuring, joining all the cracks and fissures and weak wonderings into a solid block of resolution
Who has the solution to every crazy problem you fabricate and you listen fascinated as they elaborate their reasoning and it all makes perfect sense and you always agree with each other – no pretence?
Who tips your chin, grins and offers a reassuring hug?
Who is there all the time, even when you have no one?
Who makes the decisions to back away from toxic junk? And when you sidle forward throws out an arm, keeps you from harm and says “I think you’ve had enough”
Who leaves the table and makes you go with them, when respect is no longer being served?
Who lightens a dark moment, with even blacker humour?
Who is never on the end of a phone, because they are standing right with you?
Who is your other half and your centre?
Who is the calm island in a world of dissension?
Who is the voice in your head before you close your eyes ?
Who is there when you wake up sweating from a dream in the middle of the night?
Who calms you and stays by your side until you go back to sleep?
Who keeps you awake with brilliant ideas until you toss and turn and complain loudly?
Who has been there since before you entered this world, and will accompany you when you leave?
Who is inside you as you take that last breath?
That right there – that is who you need to take the greatest of care
Love that, support that, cleave to that because if you do
You won’t be left lonely when anyone leaves the room
*That relationship with ourselves is the most important connection that we have in this life and into the next. If that relationship is toxic then our life is hell. Literally.
I think we drift off kilter. Become more influenced by the world around us and trying to fit in with it, and less able to listen to our own wisdom. I think we gradually lose integrity and until we regain that alignment – internal argument, negativity, fear and a whole host of emotional demons can become the dominant voice in our heads.
Is it any wonder we run away into other people instead?
I understand the power of having someone who enters your life and sees you for who you truly are, who loves you. Suddenly you are looking into a mirror that allows you, maybe for the first time to see your own potential. The trouble is with this scenario that you could then go and fall for the dream that this other person is the one who you need. When really that is about as useful as falling for a mirror. Plus other people come with all sorts of other add ons that aren’t necessarily useful.
This is the thing with falling in love with other people and then needing them to be with you all the time because you like the way they make you feel.
They may not be available to come hiking with you, they may not even like hiking. They may not like riding motorbikes far no far away. Motorbike riding might give them an aching bum. They may not be available to come running with you because they hate bloody running and can’t think of anything worse. They may not like poetry. They hate camping. They bitch and whinge about your favourite things until you lose patience with them and really wish you hadn’t taken them, they wish they hadn’t come – why did you?
Here is the thing about loving your own company. You’re always available, at a moments notice. You like the same things. You find yourself eminently reasonable. You can discuss long convoluted ideas like this concept of loving your own company without ever getting bored. You enjoy the same music. You can be your own form of motivation and inspiration constantly. You never get jealous of watching yourself improve. You will stand by that finish line every single time, even in the rain or hail and you will genuinely be happy for yourself, proud of yourself. You’re never too busy to offer support or a kick up the bum if required. You get yourself. And you enjoy yourself – nearly all the time. But only if you have cultivated a good relationship, put in the effort and time and reflection.
Jordan Peterson in his novel “12 rules for life” advises us (among other things) to look after ourselves like someone who matters.
The Bible says that we cannot love anyone else unless we love ourselves first.
We struggle with this concept thinking it makes us selfish, but I have found it to be quite the reverse.
Think of it this way. How does hating yourself and worrying that other people will hate you too serve the world? The inverse of loving yourself is hating yourself, or worse being apathetic and depressed. What good do these humans do in the world? Extreme selfishness is more geared towards someone who is worried about themselves and preoccupied with how others perceive them, then someone who is comfortable in their own skin.
When we love ourselves we are better human beings, we are whole human beings. Truly autonomous, responsible citizens of the world. When we take care of ourselves we release the burden of that responsibility from anyone else.
When we are our own best friend and support system, we don’t need anyone else. That being said, other people are fun and necessary to a good life. We need family and friends to enhance and add depth and meaning to our lives. but we don’t need them to complete us. We should be our own self, whole and unfragmented, not missing gigantic chunks of self esteem which we have given over to someone else to handle for us.
When I scroll through the pictures on my phone I see so many great trips, both solo and with special people. Travel and adventures with others is fun and exciting and wonderful. We should do that. Travel and adventures with ourselves are different. Also fun and exciting but usually also inspiring and challenging with time spent reflecting and learning simply because we have the time and space to do that.
Mathew McConaughey in his book Green Lights talks about the necessity of being alone and going off by himself. His wife, understanding this, sends him with full support, knowing he will return with an enriched soul. I am lucky enough to live with someone who similarly understands my personality in that regard.
Loving ourselves well means we understand how to love others even better, and most importantly, we have the space and energy to do so. Loving ourselves means we don’t need others to do so for us.
That awful clingy dependent energy is gone. We release people to be themselves and do whatever they want. We can support them, certainly love them, offer advice if asked, but in understanding our own sacred right to sovereignty (another nod to Jordon Peterson) we cannot help but set others free as well.
Higher self, maybe. Other self, deeper self, true self. Soul. God.
I don’t pay too much heed to who or what or giving it a name. It’s just me, beyond my innate idiocy and ego, and therefore capable of providing a more reliable source of wisdom and common sense. An internal Google but (thankfully) without the tracking of a search engine.
I like my mind. If I lose it to dementia – I’m going to be really pissed off. I think the worst thing about a deterioration of the brain is that we lose our Self. That horrifies me. I have worried about this – sitting by my mothers bedside ( my mother died with Alzheimers ) I watched her stare sightlessly at the ceiling, wondering where she had gone. If she had at least that abiding relationship to self, she wouldn’t be lonely, even if she cannot have one with me anymore, if she could be with herself then I would have been content. But I’m just not sure that’s how it went.
I asked myself about this, if it could happen to us – to me, to we, if the band could break up – and I was not reassured.
As humans it’s all we have – the voice in our heads, the relationship with ourselves. It’s all we can control. It is with this that we build our worlds, and they can be heaven or hell, but are mostly somewhere in between. It’s the way we survive this dream.
The only thing that is real – is our own imagination.
The eternal conundrum. We are us and who us is, is up to us. People who don’t understand this give their power to other people and things. But free will is the gift we were given – how we use it dictates what sort of life we live in. Make friends with yourself, forgive, build a bridge – do whatever it takes. Otherwise you will remain lost and powerless, stateless.
And that may take some time and doing difficult things but once you have it, don’t lose it, don’t let yourself down, become weak or cowardly or someone you can’t stand to be around. Don’t just pour your power into someone else – pour it into yourself and you’ll automatically spill over onto every other person you love. It’s not selfish! And in taking responsibility for being the best human we can be, we automatically win at life. Keep striving – we never get there – so give up the idea that we will.
Header photo: My bike, taken during a leg stretch on the way to Noccundra pub during a trip away that ended up being six or seven days and extended out to Eromanga and Quilpie, up to Windorah and over to Longreach via Jundah, back via Barcaldine and home. It left me with a worn back tyre and a very sore bum but so many wonderful memories of a great time had with self.