Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Truth is simple. Truth is succinct,” writes Kamal Ravikant.

To be honest, I don’t remember when I put Kamal’s book, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” on my reading list. Perhaps it was after I realized he was related to Naval — one of my favorite thinkers whose podcast on Farnam Street I’ve listened to 3-4 times in the last year.

Chances are though that was just a bit of social proof.

Chances are enough smart people, people like James Clear recommended it — planting the seed inside my head.

And then, chances are I was feeling a bit down — a bit hard on myself one day and I added it to my shelf.

Or, maybe, I just earmarked it to read in ‘16 when I was tired of being so hard on myself and decided I wanted to get better at self compassion.

Whatever the reason, I finally picked it up. I read it in about 25-30 minutes (max) and it left me feeling pretty, “meh.”

That’s it? I thought.

…Maybe this book just isn’t for me I surmised. 

I let it sit for a bit and simmer in the back of mind.

“It’s short, give it another chance,” I told myself.

And so I did.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I’m not going to tell you this book blew me away or that it changed my life. I will tell you that if you suffer from anxiety or depression… Or, if you have trouble practicing self compassion and/or self love, it’s worth giving this short book a shot.

Truth is simple. Truth is succinct.

Here are a few excerpts that stood out to me:

On the practice of loving yourself:

The practice (of self love) I’ve tried to break down exactly what I did that worked. And how one can replicate it. Comes down to three things:

  1. Mental loop – A thought pathway laid down by constant use. (i.e. repeating the mantra, “I love myself” over and over.)
  2. A meditation – 7 minutes every day of listening to music and thinking, “I love myself.”
  3. One question – Below.

The question:

If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this? (Negative emotion, frustrating experience, etc.)

The answer, always, was a no.

Fighting fear doesn’t work. It just drags us in closer. One has to focus on what is real. On the truth. When in darkness, don’t fight it. You can’t win. Just find the nearest switch and turn on the light.

James Altucher, in one of his best blog posts (ed note: “The Power of Negative Thinking“, talks about how he stops negative thoughts in their tracks with a simple mind trick. “Not useful,” he tells himself. It’s a switch, a breaker of sorts, shifts the pattern of the fear.

I ask myself the question, “If I loved myself, truly and deeply, what would I do?” I love this question. There is no threat, no right or wrong answer, only an invitation to my truth in this present moment.

The answer is simple: I’d commit to the practice. And I would also share the next thing I’ve learned, which is, don’t let yourself coast when things are going great. It’s easy to wish for health when you’re sick. When you’re doing well, you need just as much vigilance.

Finding Peace

The mind, left to itself, repeats the same stories, the same loops. Mostly ones that don’t serve us. So what’s practical, what’s transformative, is to consciously choose a thought. Then practice it again and again. With emotion, with feeling, with acceptance.

I once asked a monk how he found peace. “I say ‘yes,'” he’d said. “To all that happens, I say ‘yes.'”

Often, the price for not being present is pain. Now, I understand what the monk meant. There is a surrender to what is, to the moment.

Real growth comes through intense, difficult, and challenging situations.

As I started to love myself, things inside me shifted. Fear strengthens the ego. Love softens it. I became more open, vulnerable. It was natural to be gentle with others, even when they weren’t loving towards me. There is a power in this. Rather than reacting to situations, I found myself choosing how I wanted to be. That, in turn, created better situations, and ultimately a far better life.

The Ultimate Goal?

The thoughts come. Drifting, twisting, turning in shapes. It is their nature. I pick one for the moment, and then let it go, never attached. Simply experiencing what I choose. All through the filter of love. That’s it.

 

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This blog started primarily as a marketing blog, but now I write much more about work/life, social psychology, health and happiness. I will also continue to explore top performers (authors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and more) and dissect what we can take away to be top performers in our own work and personal lives.

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