The Greatest Gift You Can Give, Is to Love Yourself
We all chase the likes, shares, right swipes, and positive comments. We treat it like it’s a gift. But the greatest gift we can give is to Love ourselves.
Life conditions us, through bad teachings, that love is external. That our love for ourselves relates to the opinions of those who we revere or love in our daily lives. It might be a supervisor or boss. It might be a coach or a teacher. It could be a neighbor, friend, relative, or loved one.
We hear about social media influencers with lots of followers with no actual friends who commit suicide. We wonder why they did it? We ration that they had problems no one could see. No one looked.
Society today tells us we need to be thin, wealthy, fashionable, dating beautiful people, that we need to be seen in all the right places spending time with all the right people. Yet the best person you can spend time with is yourself, alone.
I see it everywhere today. People rushing here and there, constantly looking down at a phone. I’ve been at dinner parties and have seen others focused on someone in another place and were only interested in what they were doing somewhere else, rather than bond with someone directly in front or next to them.
I have a saying I use often, to be Loved, you must be Lovable. In order to be Lovable, you must Love yourself, first.
So, what happens when I Love myself first? Here are a few examples:
I don’t get offended easily
I Love for the right reasons
I can refuse to be with anyone who doesn’t respect me
I attract those who Love themselves into my life
Other’s opinion of me cannot devastate me
Loving yourself requires you to nurture yourself. Be the adult to your inner child. Teach it how valuable it is. Most of all, you need to teach it YOUR values, not someone else’s. Only you can determine your value.
Many people today do not know how to learn to Love themselves, how to appreciate their own beauty, their glory.
Here are a few suggestions:
Learn to be still. We have two selves, an outer self that feeds on external stimulus and an inner self. We connect our inner self to our source and it will tell us what we need to hear. But you have to be still to hear it.
Talk less and listen more. Stop telling yourself what you need or don’t need. Be still and listen to your inner self. Connect with your source, whatever that might be.
Stop chasing people. When you chase after anything, it will repel away from you. It’s the natural order. When you stop chasing things, you allow what you need to be attracted to you.
Remind yourself you are not a god. You will make mistakes, it’s natural. This is how we learn. You were never expected to be perfect, so when you make a mistake, remember it, and learn from it.
Know You Are Enough. You are complete as you are. You do not need the perfect friend, outfit, car, or lover to be complete. These things are only an addition to what already complete. If you lose one, you won’t be devastated.
Sometimes I get down, we all do. Sometimes it seems like the sun won’t ever shine in my world. I know it won’t last because everything in life, including dark times, is temporary, but sometimes in the moment it seems like it will never end.
That’s when I remind myself of how valuable I am. I remind myself that I am so valuable that even if I were the only person on the planet, my source would have created all of this just for me. Everything I could see, touch, smell, or hear.
We need to remember that we need to be our own best friends first.
That’s why I say, The Greatest Gift You Can Give, Is to Love Yourself
Gifts are a very personal way of showing appreciation and/or Love of another person in our lives. We give them often, but The Spirit of The Gift, Determines Its Value. A gift is not a gift if we expect a reward or a thank you, it’s a bribe.
Merriam-Webster defines a gift as:
Something given to someone without expectation of a return
During the holidays especially, we seek the perfect gift for the recipient (s). We put together our lists and try to match the perfect gift for each person. Sometimes it’s romantic, sometimes it’s funny, and sometimes it’s just platonic. It’s a long-standing tradition that we have all grown accustomed to, but sometimes we lose sight of the true meaning of the gift and the purpose behind it.
Giving a gift is, and should always be, a selfless act. It’s an expression of caring from you to another, be it family, friends, associates, or Loved ones. It is an expression from you to another person they mean enough to you you would take time out of your busy day and devote it to an act of kindness on their behalf.
Do a good deed and throw it into the sea.
— Egyptian proverb
Sometimes we get caught up in the season of gift giving and we forget why we are giving it. We place a value to the gift for each person, as if each person is worth so much more or less than another. Sometimes it’s not the thought of the gift, it’s the gift itself that matters to us.
It’s in these moments that we need to stop and test our reasons behind the thought of the gift. What’s behind the act of the giving, the why behind it all. Far too often we can get caught up in the act and lose sight of the meaning.
“Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting.”
So what is a gift? A gift is an expression to another person or thing that they are important to you. That they mean something to you. That they have value in your life. Enough so you would spend your own time, effort, and money on them in this expression.
Why do we give them? Sometimes we give them out of tradition, sometimes we give them out of obligation, and sometimes we give them out of the Love we have for others. Giving should always be selfless. We should give freely with no strings attached. It sets an example to those around us that there is more value in giving than receiving.
We desire to bequeath two things to our children; the first one is roots, the other one is wings.
— Sudanese proverb
The free unabashed act of freely giving to another gives us a sense of gratefulness of our sense of humanity. It reminds us we were born here in this moment, place, and time to share a small piece of ourselves with another.
Gifts can come in many forms and mean different things to different people. We can purchase some, we can make some, and we can share some. It’s in the gift’s spirit that determines its value. It’s in the why we gave it in the first place that we need to focus.
Often, we need to access the gift itself and ask ourselves if it’s meaning we wish to convey translates to the person we wish to give it to. We should ask ourselves if we are giving this gift to impress them, or to show thanks to them for being in our lives.
No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.
We need to ask ourselves if we are being honest with ourselves and others if the gift we give is an honest gift. Do we have hidden motives behind the gift? Are we secretly expecting special favor from the person receiving the gift? Are we expecting a reward for the gift?
Giving should be done freely, selflessly, and from the heart. Expecting a reward or a thank you diminish the gift itself. It turns the gift into a bribe and takes away its luster and warmth. It becomes self-serving instead of a selfless act.
In this season of giving, give for the right reason. Give appropriately and give freely. Your heart will thank you for it.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”
Remember: Happiness is a choice, so choose to be happy.
 Gift definition/Merriam-Webster.com/accessed 11/18/2020/ https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/gift
 Brian Tracy quotes/ Goodreads.com/accessed 11/18/2020/https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/186770-always-give-without-remembering-and-always-receive-without-forgetting
 Robert Louis Stevenson quotes/Goodreads.com/ accessed 11/18/2020/ https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/854076.Robert_Louis_Stevenson#:~:text=Start%20by%20following%20Robert%20Louis%20Stevenson.%20%E2%80%9CDon%27t%20judge,cards%2C%20but%20of%20playing%20a%20poor%20hand%20well.%E2%80%9D
What the Buddha Taught Me About Fear, And How I Overcome It
Fear is an emotional response we are all born with designed to protect ourselves from danger, be it real or imagined. Fear, if allowed, can take over a person’s life preventing them from becoming the person they were born to be and preventing your Dreams from coming true.
Here is what the Buddha taught me about Fear, and how I overcome it.
Dictionary.com defines fear as:
A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
What we need to focus on in this definition is the words whether the threat is real or imagined. Fear comes from the unknowing of the future outcome, thus the imagined part of the definition.
Most of us will live out our lives, never being able to see the future, so we need to take risks. Some might even call it a gamble. Many of us will refuse to take the risk out of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking dumb. Fear of rejection. The list goes on and on. For some of us, myself included, fear no longer stops us from taking a chance on ourselves.
Getting what you want in life will require at some point taking a risk. If you want to be with that girl, ask her out. If you want a raise, ask your boss. If you want more than what a job can provide you, take a chance on yourself, like I did, and go against the grain and start a business.
It’s hard to be fearless when everyone around you is fearful. They will dampen your dreams to “protect you”, but the truth is they don’t want to see you succeed where they failed.
Here are 5 pitfalls that caused my fear:
Putting things above people
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
One of our greatest fears is the fear of losing things. We do not own these things. They are temporary. Everything in life is temporary. When we realize we cannot lose that which we do not own, the fear of losing it disappears..
“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.”
Many of us wait for “the right moment” to do something or say something. Life does not wait for us. It has its own time frame, and it is not dependent on you. We wait out of fear if we are honest with ourselves. We convince ourselves that it just wasn’t the right time for me, but that’s a lie. We were just afraid.
“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
Far too often we settle in life. We settle not for what we deserve or our destiny, but for what life gives us. Life rewards the brave, and the brave do not settle. Life rewards us when we act, especially when we are afraid.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one–himself. Better to conquer yourself than others.”
Far too many times in life we try to avoid the pain we foresee as the outcome, so we don’t even try. Your greatest enemy is yourself. Pain teaches us. It teaches us what works, and what does not. We avoid the pain because we are afraid. Afraid of an outcome we do not know, so we never try.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”
Far too many times we listen to that voice in the back of our heads that warn us of potential doom when it’s really us just being afraid. We never “always” do anything. We do not “always” screw things up in any situation, except in our minds. This is just fear taking over us.
In the time I have been on this Earth, I have experienced everything listed above and have overcome them all.
Even though I was afraid of not having security, but I started a business. That was 12 years ago.
I feared heights, so I jumped out of a plane.
I had a message to get out but thought no one would listen, so I wrote a book and started a website.
You can train yourself to overcome your fears if you are willing.
Here are some suggestions that helped me to overcome my fears and how I stopped telling life “no”.
You are not your past
“To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.”
Just because you have made a mistake in the past does not mean you will automatically do it again, accept this. Far too many times we think we are our past, but we are not. Your past does not make you “who” you are, it only makes you “where” you are. Put down the raft.
Every mistake is a lesson, not a failure
“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing. The goal is to find it.”
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb we all now know and use. When asked in an interview how it felt to fail 10,000 times. He replied, “I did not fail 10,000 time. I found 10,000 ways it would not work”. Learn from your mistakes and do your best to not repeat them.
Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy it.
“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
Far too many times in life we get so caught up in in the logistics, the accomplishing, the gaining, and the holding on to things and we forget to enjoy it. Life isn’t about stuff, it’s about moments. Take a minute, stop, and enjoy them.
Change your thoughts and change your trajectory
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
If you say you can, or can’t, you are correct. Embrace the mantra of “Why Not!”. Can’t really means won’t because there is nothing you can’t do if you believe you can. Start imagining your victory, however large or small BEFORE you start, then finish the job.
Use your imagination
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.”
Far too many times in life we get lost in the problems and cannot see the solution because we are too close to the situation. Get creative to overcome your fears. You are more resourceful than you give yourself credit for.
Stop giving yourself a pass
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.”
We need to be tougher on ourselves when we falter. We all have moments when we aren’t 100% so we slack off. This leads to feelings of failure, doubt, and allows our fears to fester. In these moments, be the adult in the situation and tell the child in you to move forward.
Eliminate all distractions
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Your journey, wherever it may take you, begins with the first step. Distractions prevent that. Eliminate any distraction, aka excuse that prevents you from accomplishing what you set out to do. Distractions can also be self sabotage. Fear of achieving can be just as strong as fear of failure.
Be your own savior
“Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.”
Don’t rely on others to get started on your journey. They might be just as afraid as you and might not start. Make your journey about you, and only you, regardless of the company.
Set your course
“Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back and choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
You know where you want to end up because you’ve seen it in your mind. Failure to plan is planning to fail. Set a course to where you desire to end up and follow it. If you want to take the island, burn the boats. Make there no way to turnback.
“If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking.”
Fear will keep you from starting. It will also make you quit. Far too many times people quit right before the miracle happens. Find your why, write on your brain, and remember it. Then race for the finish. You’ll be glad you did.
The Buddha taught me about relationships as well. You can read that article here:
Life Isn’t About Waiting Out the Storm. It’s About Dancing in The Rain.
One thing we can all count on is that in life we will encounter storms. Turbulent times that sometimes shake us to the bone. But Life Isn’t About Waiting Out the Storm. It’s About Dancing in The Rain.
When we go through troubling times, we as humans doubt ourselves, our decisions, our choices, or even our lifestyle. We can feel not good enough. We can second guess ourselves. With some, it can become a habit.
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
Doubt can and will make the storms in life longer, and more frequent occurrences. Doubt is the biggest killer of dreams in a person. When we doubt ourselves, we freeze up for fear of failure, rejection, pain, or humiliation.
“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
So how do we break the cycle of doubt in ourselves and in our lives, so when the storms of life appear, we can dance in the rain? Here are some suggestions that might help.
Every Day Is A Free Reset from The Day Before
Buddha said, “What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now”. Living in the moment is the easiest way to not allow the past to influence your today. Yes, you made a mistake, maybe even a huge mistake. But each new day you are given is a chance to do better. It’s a free reset from the day before.
Imagine walking forward but looking backwards. It wouldn’t be pretty. You wouldn’t make any progress because you would not be going in the best direction for the simple fact that you can’t see what’s in front of you. You could also encounter something more dangerous that you could not see in your path.
It’s okay to visit the past, just don’t park there.
— Joseph Binning
Like A Snake Sheds Its Skin, Shed Your Past Every Day
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. With each storm we encounter, we must make decisions. Some will be wrong, but some will be right. Learn from them and remember them.
Stay away from the self-defeating attitude of self-doubt. Forgive yourself for yesterday and charge forward into today.
Just Because It Didn’t Work This Time Does Not Mean It Won’t Work.
Relationships are a splendid example of this. I’ve heard it said by friends after a breakup that they will never be in a relationship ever again. That is a genuine sentiment for them.
Focusing on the pain and hurt of the end will dampen the memory of what was good. Try to focus on the good so you can repeat it. Be honest about what didn’t work and try not to repeat it.
Failure Is Not the Opposite of Success, Its Part of It.
Michael Jordan, one of professional basketball greatest legends, was told by his High School coach he was too small to play basketball.
They fired Walt Disney from a newspaper job for lack of originality and lack of imagination.
Thomas Edison failed over 1000 times before his invention finally worked. He called it the light bulb.
Stephen King’s threw away his first book, Carrie. His wife fished it out and encouraged him to resubmit it. And the rest is history.
During Vincent Van Gogh’s lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life, he continued painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, some are worth hundreds of millions of dollars each.
Remember That Whoever Is Trying to Bring You Down Is Already Beneath You
Some people have a way of projecting their fears onto us, some without even knowing it. Sometimes people will try to convince us we cannot do something because they are or were too afraid to try themselves. Some people are just ugly inside and project it outwards.
Always remember that just because someone says something does not make it true. Everyone may have an opinion of you. Just remember you also have the right to believe something different from what they believe. And its okay.
Happy Ever After Begins with Happy
When the storms come, and they will, don’t fear them, embrace them. Your attitude on how you deal with any situation will always determine its outcome. If you say you can or can’t, you are correct. If you say you can’t, it means you won’t.
Life Isn’t About Waiting Out the Storm. It’s About Dancing in The Rain is a metaphor for not allowing life’s storms to upset your happiness. By choosing to be happy everything is manageable. Happiness is not external and depending on outside circumstances. Happiness is an internal choice.
Here is another article I think you might enjoy on this subject:
Selfishness, we all suffer from it, have suffered from it, or will suffer from it. We were born that way. In our early years we learn “Mine”. As adults, it’s easy to continue with that thought. But All That Matters Is What We Do in The End.
Most of us are hard-wired to be selfish in some sort. In many situations selfishness is common. We want to take care of our children first, for example. Assuring that our children are safe and well provided for is a high level of concern.
Assuring that our family members are safe and well provided for is similar. Many people sacrifice for their children and family with no complaints. Some do not.
“Thus, most of us are hard-wired to conform to a core morality that includes protecting our children, dealing more or less fairly with other people, and placing limits on our selfishness,”.
— Christopher R. Beha
Merriam-Webster defines selfishness as:
1: the quality or state of being selfish: a concern for one’s own welfare or advantage at the expense of or in disregard of others: excessive interest in oneself
Selfishness is that attitude of being concerned with one’s own interests above the interests of others.
The Bible says “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others,” (Philippians 2:3-4, NASB).
Buddha taught that “you” are not an integral, autonomous entity. The individual self, or what we might call the ego, is more correctly thought of as a by-product.
Confucius teaches, “What you do not want done to you, do not do to others,”.
The Tao Te Ching says in chapter 33 To know others is to be clever, to know yourself is to be enlightened.
Most of us know deep down inside when we are being self-serving and selfish. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake, sometimes it isn’t. The trick is to know when we are, and what to do about it.
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and it will not shorten the life of the candle. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
When I think of selfishness, I see a hand with its fist clenched tight, facing upwards. We try to hold on to all that we feel and believe is ours with all our might, fist clenched tightly. What we cannot see is that while clenching tightly to what we believe is ours, what we believe we are entitled to, cannot be added to.
When I think of selflessness, I see a hand opened wide, facing upwards. The symbolism of this exercise is to remind you that all we have, all we are, all we can be is not ours to keep, it is ours to share. By living life with palms extended up, more can be added.
“You only lose what you cling to.”
By realizing that we deserve nothing, we gain freedom. Freedom from the fear of loss. Freedom from the fear of lack. Freedom from the fear of not being good enough.
The Tao Te Ching says in chapter 46, “Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.”
“If you light a lantern for another, it will also brighten your way,”
(Gosho Zenshu, p. 1898)
Gratitude and gratefulness are the answer to selfishness.
There is a story of a woman returning home from a long trip, and they delay her flight. Frustrated and tired, she visits the gift shop. While there, she buys a magazine and a bag of cookies. She proceeds to the waiting area, finds a section of the wall she can sit against because all the seats are full, and reads her magazine.
Soon a man sits next to her. They do not exchange pleasantries but ignore each other. Soon the woman notices the man reach down and he takes a cookie from the bag on the ground between them.
She was shocked. She thought to herself, “did he really just do what I think he did?” Soon, he grabbed another one, and then another until there was only one left. With a smile, he offers her the last cookie. Upset, she grabs the last cookie and eats it.
Her plane arrives, and they finally allow her to board. Angrily, she storms off, cursing him in her mind and thinking of him as the rudest person she could have ever encountered.
As she sits down in her seat on the airplane, she reaches into her purse, only to find her bag of cookies, unopened, in her purse where she put them after buying them.
Sometimes selfishness can overtake us, especially when we are tired, in an airport, and just wanting to be home. When you find yourself sitting next to someone in the same situation as you, share your cookies. You never know when they might not be yours.
Here is another article you might like. You can read it here:
If we are honest with ourselves and look at the outcomes and the fallout from revenge, we must look at the possibility that it could backfire.
I knew a person who disliked the fact that his girlfriend was “a big flirt”. This centered on his insecurity, but he didn’t see it that way.
One night, he and his girlfriend were at a party and she was being her social self. Annoyed with her, the man started flirting with a young woman to “get back at her” and in his mind wanted her to see how it felt.
The woman followed him into an empty room where she enticed him into having sex with her, which he did using the excuse he was drunk to justify his terrible choice. When they finished the woman walked up to the man’s girlfriend and told her what had just happened.
The girlfriend had enticed another man from that woman in the past and she was exacting her form of payback on the girlfriend and had used the man to get it. The man and his girlfriend are no longer together.
So how do we just forgo the need to exact revenge on another? Know that your thoughts “attract” things, situations, and people into your life daily. They will either move you towards where you need to be, or away from it. The choice is yours.
When you let go the need for revenge in your life, you allow better things to take its place. Not allowing the pent-up anger to fester in the first place can satisfy you and liberate you.
I have a friend who once told me to that it is okay to forgive someone who did not ask for it, for my benefit, but to mark them in the back of your brain. When pressed for a definition of that he said “to forgive is our nature because we ourselves are not perfect, but to allow it to happen twice goes against our nature and should be avoided at all costs”.
I wrote an article about forgiveness that might help which you can read here:
Forgiving people will prevent the need for revenge. It releases you for the chains that hold and bind you, which is not how you were created to be.
Possibly you have been someone who exacted revenge on another for something. Did it help you with whatever triggered the need for revenge?
Did it make things any better for longer than a short while?
Did it make you a better person because of it?
If so, you can start over. That’s the best thing about life, each day is a new day, and we can hit restart and start over. Never be afraid to start over because each time you do you won’t be starting from scratch; you will start from experience. Use that experience and make today better than yesterday.
I wrote an article about starting over that might help, which you can read here: