By Suma Varughese
To discover oneself as one’s own best friend is to embark on the best love affair of our lives, says Suma Varughese
I am firmly convinced that one of the main reasons I took incarnation on Planet Earth in this lifetime is to learn the secrets of self-esteem. Clearly, this was meant to be my biggest learning, and for the last 20 years, I have striven to achieve this goal.
Before I started on the assignment, I was given a glimpse of the state I was meant to reach (the universe frequently gives us a sample of the joys ahead, because that is the best way to ensure that you stay the course). I remember that brief phase of feeling whole, perfect and complete. Of feeling protean, as if all possibilities were within me and that there was nothing I could not do. And I remember that sense of surpassing peace. Through these years I have gone through spiral after spiral of self-esteem. Insights would open up vistas of this space to me, but inevitably another insight would edge out this glimpse and I would move to some other aspect of self-tranformation. But through it all, I was shifting, forming, shaping, becoming stronger, more powerful, more confident.
And slowly, I have been getting a real sense of what it feels like to love myself. It means knowing that no matter what, I can never disappoint myself. That no matter what I do or feel or say, there is space for me to experience it. It means that instead of looking outside for love, acknowledgement and appreciation, I root it within myself. It means that instead of reacting to what others do or say, I take my feelings and thoughts within me and heal them within me. It means in short, a deepening sense of freedom from the circumstances of one’s life.
I am still not fully there, but these days, bad moods get cut short by my ability to take them within me and tenderly coming to terms with them. It is also increasingly easier for me to experience what I am feeling, and to dissipate them from within me, even if they have created enormous disquiet. And because I am able to finally leave behind the angst and burden of feelings, I can glimpse more easily what lies beneath it, genuine peace.
Loving oneself is the best guarantee of living right because we recognise that we are too valuable to be damaged or despoiled by careless living
When you love yourself, there is a real sense of appreciation for yourself. Finally, that carping voice that criticised and condemned is silenced. Instead, there is encouragement, support and a genuine caring. Looking after my health comes more easily to me now, because when you love yourself, you want to give yourself the very best life you can. Therefore, I exercise, I visualise, I meditate, I sleep early, and I give myself oil massages. When you love yourself, you also want to be as happy as you can be, and so I am no longer as quick to choose mind-pleasing avenues such as watching TV. I know that my happiness and eventual welfare is more likely to come from reading a book, writing in my journal, or listening to music.
Loving oneself is the best guarantee of living right because we recognise that we are too valuable to be damaged or despoiled by careless living, bad company or poor choices. It is also the beginning of a love affair that will only increase with time, and with a guaranteed happily ever after.
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