Friday, May 9, 2014

Self Love

Late Wednesday evening I was sitting in a de-icing truck in the middle of Denver International Airport. We sat listening to the radio as one flight after another requested permission to taxi to the runway. We watched the airplanes rolling by and saw the passenger silhouettes in the windows as they settled back to be carried to points across the globe.
Photo Credit: Ari Hoffman
At times like that, in the safety of the small truck cab it is not uncommon for us to wax philosophic.
“Friends, love, and trust, are all very fluid concepts”, my truck mate opines.
I inhale the smell of rain and jet fuel from the open window and reply, “yes, I agree”.
So much said in so few words. I like it like that.

Here are a couple ideas about love:

As we discussed last week, self love is a prerequisite to loving someone else. Notice I didn’t say that narcissism is a prerequisite, just self love.

How do we define love in general? As my truck mate pointed out, it’s a fluid concept. So there are probably a number of definitions. One of my favorites comes from the Hebrew word for love, ahava. The root of that word is the word hav which means to give.

If I love you, I give of myself to you, physically, spiritually, emotionally. I am present to be there for you. I want you to have the best and I want to be the one to give it to you.

 How about if I love me? Same thing. I work on giving myself the best thing for me. This does not mean that I give myself the best cut of meat, the nicest car, or the tastiest spicy Cheetos. This means that I seek out opportunities for me to grow, to be a better person and to increase my quality of life.

How can I possibly know how to love someone else if I haven’t taken the time to love myself? This doesn’t mean that you should become a hermit until you figure out how to love yourself. It does, however, mean that you should watch your relationships improve as you dedicate more energy in to improving yourself.

I wanted to write about this topic after considering the verse from Leviticus mentioned in last week’s blogletter, “you should love your friend like yourself.” I thought to myself, “Ari, if you treated your friends like you treat yourself, you wouldn’t have any friends!” I can be quite hard on myself sometimes so I will extend a lesson that I’ve learned but need to review regularly:

A large part of loving yourself is recognizing your humanity and your inherent fallibility. Be gentle to yourself in your successes and your failures and you will certainly find yourself being more gentle with the people and world around you.

Finally, look at beautiful things and allow yourself to bask in that beauty, if only momentarily. Take 30 seconds and focus on that beautiful thing. Try to allow other thoughts to pass through and go out but focus on the beauty. Just try 30 seconds. I believe in you.


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