In 1987 I was attending a personal development seminar in Miami, Florida and found myself sitting in a lecture about the importance of writing your mission statement for your life. The concept appealed to me and the speaker gave us a road map to follow composed of a series of questions we needed to answer.
Something inside of me changed at that moment. I had realized that I did not have a written mission for my life and that until I did, I will never reach my true potential. That afternoon I went to the beach after class and sat there for hours. Asking myself these profound questions like, “Why am I here? What was I designed to be? What do I love doing? What do other say I am the best at?” After a lot of writing and reflecting, that day my mission statement for life was born. It is simply ”To learn to unconditionally love myself, so I may unconditionally love others”. At that moment, I knew that LOVE was the foundation for all that I am now and all that I will become. Now many of you don’t now me, but some of you do, and you know how much I love to love. Love to me is my not only my favorite subject in the world, it is also what I love to do the most.
I found that the reason love is so powerful, is because it is connected to our self worth. [quote_center]Love is what we base our Beliefs, Attitudes and Opinions on.[/quote_center] It is what determines in many cases what actions and choices we make. But unfortunately most of us don’t live in a world of love. We live in a world of criticism and judgment. We are constantly criticizing ourselves and focusing on what is wrong with us. We wake up each day looking at ourselves in the mirror and we start judging ourselves immediately. We internally say to ourselves, “I gained a little bit of weight,” or “ I wish I was younger” or “I wish I was taller”, or “I wish my skin was a different color”. Always judging, judging and judging.
Unfortunately when we judge ourselves like that, we give permission for others to do the same. The solution is very simple, I want you to accept yourself for just the way you are. I want you to love yourself just the way you are. When you do that, you realize that everyone else begins to look at you very different. You come to understand that the world is only a mirror of yourself. So begin today to replace all that negative self talk, with compliments. Begin to only see the perfections in you. Begin to love yourself like you never have before. Then, you will see how the world falls in love with you.
One time I was watching one of my son’s tennis matches, and I witnessed something that left an impression on me. One of the top players in the nation who was playing against him missed a shot. He went to the back of the court and started yelling at himself things like, “I’m so stupid”, “I can’t believe I did that”, “I’m the worst tennis player in the world”, “I’m awful”.
I kept asking myself, I wonder how his brain is feeling?, I wonder how his heart is feeling? Why would you ever want to talk to yourself like that? Unfortunately, he started losing the majority of points after and my son won the match.
Most of us can relate to this young man. We seem to speak to ourselves the same way. Maybe we do it when we think of the partner we have in our life. Maybe the work we do we hate. Perhaps it is past choices we made that seem like mistakes. Maybe it is when we realize our financial status. Whatever it is, know that this response of self hate and criticism will only lead to you losing the game of life. So please stop it!
The National Longitudinal Mortality study showed that married people that love each other live longer, have less heart disease and cancer. Sometimes it is difficult to study how you measure love. But the one thing we know, is that the most important love relationship, is the one with yourself. It is very healing and will set the stage for all the areas of your life to be more abundant.
There are 3 things that I’ve discovered over the years that have actually helped me to love myself more so I could love others.
1. Stop Judging Yourself and Others.
It’s that simple. There is no need to be judgmental. You are and others are just like they need to be at that moment. One of the greatest lessons i have learned is to go through life without criticizing or judging someone else. Whenever you judge someone else, you negate them immediately. That person is never going to feel comfortable being around you, doing business with you or having a relationship with you. It doesn’t matter how they are, they are not perfect, you are not perfect, so why would you feel the need to judge other people? And please, stop judging yourself. You are perfect just the way you are. If there is anything you want to change, you know you have the ability to change it. And if you can’t change it, accept it, embrace it, love it.
2. Love Unconditionally
You need to love unconditionally like you would love a brand new baby, dog, or someone that is handicap. Many of us have been trained to put conditions on our love. We say things like, “I will love you when you go to college”, or ”when you get a job” or “when you lose weight” or “when you make more money”. All of these statements to yourself and others will limit your ability to love and be loved. There is no need to put judgments or conditions on your love. It has to be unconditionally so it is pure love. Love for the sake of loving. It is not for others, but for you. You are the one that benefits the most when you love unconditionally.
3. Seek Pleasure More Than Pain
Remember that pleasure and pain are the two drivers in life. I want you to focus on the pleasure, because when you focus on the pleasure that means you are loving yourself, so that the life can love you. The things that give us pleasure, tend to be the good things in our lives. A job that is meaningful and impacts the lives of others in a positive way. A relationship that is very fulfilling and nurturing. Lifestyle choices like eating healthy and exercising that gives us energy and makes us feel good about ourselves. Taking a vacation to somewhere you always wanted to go. These healthy experiences have been shown to give more happiness and peace. So ask yourself, does this person or experience bring me pain or pleasure?
If you do these three things on a daily basis, you will be able to experience more love than ever. Here they are again, Stop judging yourself and others, Love yourself more unconditionally so that you can love others unconditionally, and seek pleasure more than pain. When you do these three things you are able to transform and experience love. The famous Leo Buscaglia put it best, “A total immersion in life offers the best classroom for learning to love.”, so start living and loving like there is no tomorrow.