I have heard before that you cannot truly learn to love someone if you do not know how to love yourself. How much truth really lies in this statement?
We all have our flaws and life is a learning process, but there comes a point in time that we must all learn to cherish those flaws as a part of who we are, and utilize them to create the “better version” of ourselves we all wish to embody. There will always be things about myself that I wish I could “fix”. One of my hardest challenges has constantly been learning to accept them as a part of who I am and move forward.
The problems we try to avoid or find disinterest in addressing are usually the ones that need the most attention – often, they are the most beneficial to address. Some make it their life goal to run away from their own problems, but how long can you run from them? Why play mind games with yourself? There’s no need to be deceptive when it comes to our inner thoughts. Be open and honest with yourself – always.
Nine months ago I really began to learn who I am after having run away from reality for years. The hardest decision I ever had to make was one that spurred on this self-reflection. I believe it has helped make the first of many micro-adjustments in how I carry myself and my entire outlook. Being someone who constantly utilized distraction as a means of coping with pain and discomfort, I did what came naturally to me – preoccupied, with never a moment to rest or reflect on the pain, I ran around from task to task keeping busy and ensuring I stayed distracted with what I felt were “more important things” such as the trivialities of everyday. I turned to friends to help me up, but quickly learned that those around me were not reliable and instead were too focused on their own issues to carry the heap of bones and tears I had become. What, at the time, seemed painful and disheartening was the major turning point for my own personal growth. I began to realize that until I learned to take care of myself, I could not expect others to do the same. Until I KNEW what I wanted, I couldn’t expect others to define that for me. Until I could learn to stand on my own two feet, I couldn’t ask others to help me up. The same went for love: until I could learn to love myself, I couldn’t expect others to love me nor could I expect to truly love someone else.
I’ll never forget that first day on my own – the day after all my walls came crashing down. Coming out of a hot yoga room for the first time, faint and queasy, I went to wash my face in the locker room and caught a glance of myself in the mirror. In that intense level of discomfort, I do not know what compelled me to smile, open my mouth and say something I had NEVER even thought to myself: “DAMN Nai, you look good!”.
Yoga has taught me something I find essential to keep in mind at all times: right here, in this moment, in this body and state of mind, you have everything you need to fix your problems. You have everything right here to cause change and become who you want to be. You are your own savior. You contain that strength. For this reason, you have to welcome all experiences, good AND bad for they are all important.