My family and I just returned from another lovely weekend at the beach where we ate delicious, healthful meals, jet-skied, tubed behind a speed boat, swam, hot-tubbed, had great conversations with our beloved host, and just relaxed. It delights me that these happy times together will become my kids’ childhood memories.
As I enjoyed myself over the weekend, I also gave a lot of thought to what’s going on in the world. First, let me say that I firmly believe we should not allow the tragedies that abound to curtail our well-being. There is important self-mastery in the ability to remain in gratitude for the gift of being alive, and connected to life’s magic, even as we are seeing some very troubling unfoldings in the world near and far. Self-mastery is your magic bullet for your best life. And self-mastery includes loving yourself, loving your life, and thriving as a default setting, no matter what.
Your well-being is your greatest currency in life. Your well-being will infect and inspire others. Your well-being, your radiance, and your magnetism can heal and transform the people you encounter without even any effort on your part. Similarly, when we are in pain, we cause others pain. We don’t intend to, but we nevertheless do. Pain is infectious. If we have it, we can’t help but to zap others with it.
Much of the pain we experience is caused by we ourselves. We inflict it upon ourselves through being brutally hard on ourselves, through lack of self-acceptance and self-incrimination, through not standing in our power, through feeling we are “not enough,” and through harboring guilt and shame. We often have no idea we are doing this to ourselves. Our egos protect us from seeing ourselves in action.
If you do something as innocent as spilling a pot of coffee at a meeting, it’s unlikely you will remain in your confidence and sense of humor and with a wink, look around the room boldly into everyone’s eyes, and say, “well, I’m doing the best I can! I guess we can all be butter fingers at times.” More likely you will be visibly red-cheeked (even if your skin is brown), embarrassed to the nth degree. Mortification might be a better word. You will probably berate yourself publicly, bonk your forehead, and cringe in horror, making a public pronouncement something to the effect of what a klutz you are. This is the kind of mercilessness towards ourselves that I’m talking about.
We would never treat others this way because it’s uncalled for, and because it would traumatize them. Similarly, it’s harmful to our well-being without our even realizing it. Being so ruthlessly hard on ourselves curtails our capacity to truly thrive. It also limits our capacity to allow others the margin of error and the freedom to be themselves that they also deserve. We may never be as hard on others as we are on ourselves, but if we are hard on ourselves, we are guaranteed to be overly hard on others.
Yes, it’s a lot easier to get along with others when we get along with ourselves. Without even realizing it, most of us don’t get along well with ourselves. Most of us have yet to tame our raging inner critic. Most of us have yet to quell our inner taskmaster. Most of us have yet to get the volume turned down on our inner judge and jury. Most of us have yet to say a resounding “shut up” to our inner perfectionist.
How ‘bout we are kinder and gentler towards ourselves? How ‘bout we proceed from tenderness and compassion for ourselves. How ‘bout we cultivate our love of self? When we love ourselves it’s a whole lot easier to love others. When we are filled with positive self-regard, it’s a whole lot easier to be gracious and noble in our treatment of others. When we are energized and inspired from our active beaming of white light unto ourselves, we are far more expansive, patient, understanding, generous of spirit, and forbearing with others.
Every conflict that exists, whether in our personal lives, or in world politics, boils down to our ability to get along with others. It boils down to our ability to recognize and honor one another’s humanity. It boils down to our capacity to see that the other is we ourselves. The truth is that we all are one. We humans are as individual sun rays radiating outward from the same sun. We humans, in our infinite diversity, are all fundamentally interconnected.
If the New York City police, currently emblazoned in the news for clear wrongdoing, saw themselves in the people they brutalize, this world would be a far better place. If those who “hate the police” saw themselves in the police officer, this world would be a far better place. If those in the Gaza Strip could honor one another’s shared (and sacred!) humanity, focus on one another’s positive qualities, and see themselves in the other, this world would be a far better place.
It’s about leaving fear, hatred, and petty ideas of victimhood (on both sides!) behind and stepping into the healing, transformative arena of love and light. In the arena of love and light, forgiveness is easy, and miracles are not only possible, they are guaranteed.
So here’s to your well-being, here’s to your self-mastery, and here’s to your self-love! Your thriving, and your standing in your truth and your greatness very literally makes the world a better place.