In 1959, for his 70th birthday, silent film actor and philosopher Charlie Chaplin composed a poem to himself: an anthem of self-love that can help you transform your life. (The text in BOLD are Charlie’s words. The rest are mine.)
As I Began To Love Myself
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
Tiny step: Take a non-negotiable 15 minutes every day to do something you love, that stirs your soul and makes you smile. You give so much to your family, job and friends. You deserve this tiny break from outward-focus! Doing what you like activates the nucleus accumbent, an area of the brain responsible for your attitude toward life. Whatever nourishes your soul, do it, without guilt.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
Tiny step: Don’t “should” yourself so much! “I should lose 10 pounds… I should eat more leafy greens…” Do you follow through? Replace “I should” with an encouraging “It will be fun to…” “Should” equates to shame, the biggest killer of self-love. What can you do FOR yourself, instead of TO yourself?
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
Tiny step: Wishing things were different causes suffering. Ease suffering by accepting “what is,” but not from a helpless perspective. Think of THIS as a fresh start. Here’s the clay you’ve been given. What’s in your inner toolbox of experience and wisdom that can help you shape this clay into something wonderful?
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
Tiny step: Anytime you’re overwhelmed use this mantra: “I can figure it out.” You can always learn and adapt! If you can’t see an answer immediately, meditate for clarity.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
Tiny step: Say no to obligations that tip the scale to overwhelm or make you stressed. The world will keep spinning if you say no. Make plans that inspire you in a relaxed way. Life isn’t a competition or list of achievements. It’s about the experience.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
Tiny step: Cultivating self-love is hard when the downers drag you down! Do your friends treat themselves with dignity, compassion and respect? If yes, emulate them! If not, take a 30-day break from energy vampires to make room for positive people. Don’t pressure yourself to quit someone permanently. Thirty days is doable.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
Tiny step: Open your mind. Explore the validity of another person’s truth. Everyone lives according to their own truth; truth is different for everyone. Be curious about alternative perspectives. You might, for example, learn something that shatters a self-defeating belief you have about yourself!
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
Tiny step: Make time daily for stillness. We’re in such a rush to get… where? There’s no destination! There will always be more to do! Slow down. Enjoy this moment because it’ll never come around again! Take each day as it comes and live fully now.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
Tiny step: Stressful ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts) make up 60-80% of our daily thoughts. Negative thoughts help us identify things in our environment that can harm us but what good is it to ruminate and let them dig deep grooves in the mind? Anytime you imagine what could go wrong, give equal time to imagining what can go perfectly!
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!
Tiny step: Learn! In any argument you can learn what someone believes and why. Learn from the times you rationalize why you “should” go against your gut feelings. What do you believe that compels you to make this decision? What would you have to believe to make a different choice?
Each line of the poem shares a wise lesson. Choose the line that resonates with the pain you feel the most. Take the tiny step, if possible daily, for at least 30 days to experience a profound transformation! Then, move on to the next line that is most relevant to your pain at the time.
The Heal Your Hunger Tribe is a powerful resource for exploring and sharing your experiences with self-love! Join the conversation!
Resources and References: