What Is Self-Love?

December, 2012

This post has been, and is a work of love, pun intended. :-) I have had numerous titles for it, but all were asking the question, in one form or another: What is love? As you can see, I finally settled on being specific about a certain kind of love — self-love.

Perhaps, this is a poem appropriate to say to yourself.

First, I should point out that this is not my first attempt at trying to nail-down this elusive subject of love. On one of my most recent attempts, I used the title of the Cole Porter song, What Is This Thing Called Love?, and came to the conclusion that love, like art, is in the mind (eyes) of the beholder. This isn’t even the first time that I have tried to discuss self-love. In a post entitled, What Does “I Love You” Mean To You?, published in March of 2010, I invited the reader to go to a private place and say over and over again, “I love you” to her/himself. To read either of these please click on their hyper-texted titles.

Awhile back, I was in a meeting and the word “love” was being used in a way that I found confusing. The meeting was a Wellness Support Group that met at the office of Dr. Simon Yu. During the meeting, various participants suggested that in order to become healthier and overcome various problems we need to focus on self-love. I found the emphasis on self-love confusing in the sense that we use the word love in so many different contexts. For example, a person can say she loves ice-cream, her dog, her country, her mother, a song, a movie, her mate, etc. Generally speaking, each of these “loves” are different. So what is meant by self-love?

In all of my previous posts regarding love, I never tried to view love from a scientific and/or measurable perspective. I’m sure you would love for me to do so. :-) Is it possible to scientifically measure love? Well, there have been attempts to measure love using a MRI machine to analyze changes in the brain when patients are “in love.” There are also various attempts at scientifically defining love from a behavioral (operational) perspective.  Using an operational definition won’t allow us to measure love, but if we accept the definition, we will be able to recognize it characteristics.

So, this is who I should love. Hmmm…..

Maybe we can’t, or shouldn’t, measure love as a quantity of something that we have. In an article which described the use of a MRI machine for measuring love, patients’ brains were flooded with the chemical dopamine when they were thinking about their loved ones. When the patients thought about non-loved ones, their brains weren’t flooded with dopamine. Besides dopamine, it was established that many other chemicals are released and bonded while a person is “in-love.” All of the chemicals can be measured, but does than mean we can measure love? Probably not! You see, determining the existence and quantity of chemicals in our bodies only helps us compare specific samples. We are, rightfully, placing the sample before the whole.

I think, in order to measure love and interpret the results, we need to be able to compare the existence and quantity of the before-mentioned chemicals with known measures that produce measurable outcomes. Simply stated, it’s the old problem exemplified by the question, “Who or what do you love more?” Take, for example, two siblings who claim that they are each “loved more” by a parent. How are we to compare the existence and quantity of the “love” chemicals with known measures that produce measurable outcomes? How are we? I don’t know!

Perhaps, Einstein’s wonderful quote about measurement is appropriate at this time, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” I believe this discussion about love and self-love leaves me with only one conclusion: Even though love counts, it can’t be counted. :-)

Donald Trump – an example of someone who manifests self-love??????

So, what is self-love? Literally, it is the love of oneself. Having stated that, it is NOT an obsession with oneself. If I’m obsessed with myself, then the appropriate term to use would be narcissism, especially if I exclude all others. And, it is NOT vanity, which is based on conditions. Instead, self-love implies unconditional love for oneself. Narcissism leans toward obsessing over oneself and excluding others. Vanity leans toward meeting conditions, such as getting an extreme make-over, and then believing I should be loved because of my beauty.  Self-love is love that is directed toward all that I am – my emotions, thoughts, actions, body, … Therefore, self-love is not the emotion of love that I normally think of when I love another person, but is simply the mental and physical act of treating myself favorably.

Why is self-love important? Think about the one person you are always with. The one person you cannot escape from. Who is that person — YOU! Do you want to be with a person that you love? Well, when you love yourself, you are always with a least one person you love.

The longest and most powerful relationship you’ll ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. So, why not make that long and powerful relationship one that is filled with love? As a small beginning for enhancing that powerful relationship, start today by never saying anything bad about yourself, especially in your own head. Be good to your body. Make this the first day of the rest of your life to treat yourself favorably, both mentally and physically.

To thy oneself, be loving! :-)

grab-small-r21

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How Can I Emotionally Cleanse Myself Of Grief?

September, 2011

Henry Adams asked Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create this memorial to his wife who committed suicide in 1885. It is located in Rock Creek Cemetery and is often mistakenly called the “Grief” statue.

How can I emotionally cleanse myself of grief? Is it wise to try to do so? Since grief is a natural emotional response for all humans, then when appropriate, should we try to not grieve? These are all good questions and for this post, I would like to focus, primarily, on the first one. How can I emotionally cleanse myself of grief?

“Speak it…Write it…Draw it…” -Funda M. Gulmen, N.D., M.S.

A friend and former student of mine, Dr. Funda M. Gulmen, published an article (to read the article click here and go to page 18) in Natural New Haven, the Natural Awakenings Magazine for New Haven and Middlesex Counties in Connecticut. The article was entitled, “Emotional Cleansing,” and after reading it, I realized that emotional cleansing is exactly what I need. As some of my readers know, my son died on June 22, 2011, and since then, I have had an abundant supply of emotional baggage dragging me down. Dr. Gulmen is a Facebook friend of mine and on September 5, 2011, she posted a link to her article. Since then, I have been trying to write this post.

Ok, that gives you a little background about where and when I began my adventure down the path of cleansing myself emotionally. But, how can I do it? You see, I’m still on the path and haven’t reached the destination of “being emotionally cleansed.” I think it’s reasonable to assume that when someone is wanting to emotionally cleanse himself, he should focus only on the negative emotions. For example, cleansing the mind of fear would be desirable, but cleansing the mind of courage would not be a desired goal. So, as I use this forum to cleanse my emotions, I will focus on cleansing those that I consider negative and increase those deemed positive.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” -Kahlil Gibran

In her article, Dr. Gulmen talked about the need to release negative emotions. A part of her article was sub-titled, “Speak it…Write it…Draw it…,” which referred to the cleansing and healing aspect of bringing emotions out into the open so they can be viewed more objectively. For example, if I talk about the emotions that are causing me pain, then I (and others who hear me) will be able to put them in perspective. Recently, after talking about my feelings related to my son’s death, I realized most of what I was feeling was self-pity. I felt sorry for myself! When I came to that realization, (before then, I thought I was feeling sorry for my son) I immediately felt relieved. Of course, I have lost something near and dear to me, but self-pity is not something I want or need to feel.

The “Speak it” part of “Speak it…Write it…Draw it…” has already helped me. In fact, it seems that coming to the realization of the specific negative emotion I was feeling and bringing it “out into the open” through verbal expression, allowed me to see it for what it really is — an unnecessary emotion. Since it’s unnecessary, I feel good about not feeling it. :-)

“Grief is the agony of an instant. The indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.” -Benjamin Disraeli

Yes, the “Speak it…” has helped me, but for those of you who have been reading my blog on a regular basis, you most likely know that one of my main goals is to use this as a “writing for learning” exercise. Therefore, for the rest of this post, I will focus on the “Write it…” part of emotional cleansing. Regarding the “Draw it…” part, suffice it to say that I’m not very good at drawing and feel that my best chance of emotionally cleansing myself will be through writing-it.

Perhaps, one of the first considerations I should address is the question: “What will my newly cleansed-mind contain?” You see, I cannot keep by mind free of emotions. How can a human have no mental feelings? Emotions are mental feelings and to say a live human has no mental feelings is like saying a live human has no heartbeat. Impossible! I believe we are all full of emotions. Just as our bodies have feelings, so do our minds. Our minds are full of feelings such as desire, anger, fear, guilt, joy, hatred, pride, distress, love and of course, grief. Considering the title of this post, you can most likely deduce that the emotion I want to be cleansed from my mind is grief. So, what will remain in my mind, after it has been cleansed of the negative emotions? I propose that, for sure, it will contain the only emotion that’s always with us, LOVE!

“Contrary to popular belief that it’s selfish to love yourself, this is just so not true. We cannot give what we do not have.” -Anita Moorjani

You might wonder where that last statement came from. Recently, as I was doing research for this post, I came across a testimonial from Anita Moorjani. In 2006 she was given 36 hours to live. She was dying of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was in a coma. The rest of her story is not only miraculous, but also educational. Please click here for more details. A fundamental idea I gleaned from her story was that we shouldn’t live our lives in fear and that love is the core emotion for all humans. Love, as the core emotion for all humans, is on one level, easy to accept, but on another level, difficult. It is difficult because, at least in the English language, the word love has many differ meanings. For example, love can be used to describe a strong desire, a romantic feeling, a tender affection, etc….

So, what kind of love is the core emotion for all humans? I wrote a post in October of 2010 entitled, “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and tried to pin-down the meaning of love as I see it. Well, if you read the post (to visit the post click here) you’ll quickly find out I wasn’t exactly successful in giving a succinct explanation. I eventually came to the conclusion: “love can only be explained by the person who asks the question. In other words, the meaning of love is entirely created and exists uniquely in the mind of each individual person who seeks the meaning of love. Like ‘art is in the eyes of the beholder,’ this thing called love is in the mind of the beholder!” At the present time, love is going to remain an emotion that is left undefined by me.

“Grief is the price we pay for love.” -Queen Elizabeth II

Ok, so I need to emotionally cleanse myself of the negative emotions associated with MY grief. I emphasize MY because not everyone will have the same negative emotions when grieving. For example, many who are grieving feel anger, but I do not. In fact, for a while I was bothered by not having anger toward someone or something. I thought that if I would become angry at someone or something, then I would be able to eliminate the pain I was feeling by expressing that anger. Of course, now, as I look back on that kind of thinking, it seems a little silly. So, what negative emotions associated with my grief do I need to cleanse from my mind?

The following list contains the negative emotions related to my grief. Most likely, the list isn’t complete. I’ve also provided a specific example of how each emotion is “felt.”

“Excess of grief for the dead is madness; for it is an injury to the living, and the dead know it not.” -Xenophon

Guiltfor example: I’m living and my son isn’t.

Fearfor example: Fear of not handling his estate the way he would have wanted me to.

Inadequacyfor example: I cannot keep his memory alive in his children.

Apprehensionfor example: Apprehension about carrying on his legacy in a respectful and meaningful manner.

Anxietyfor example: Anxious about the future without him.

Regretfor example: Not questioning more regarding the medical care my son received after his accident.

These six emotions are probably not the complete list associated with my grief, but after putting them into words and thinking about them, I will admit that I already feel a sense of relief. Each one, in one sense, seems unnecessary and therefore, easier to “get rid of.”  The key, I think, for cleansing myself of these negative emotions is to recognize thembring them out “into the open,” determine their unnecessariness, and literally, don’t allow myself to feel them.

“The secret of health for mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future or to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

I can imagine someone saying: “Not allowing yourself to feel the ‘unnecessary’ emotions is not realistic.” I think it is realistic and is done by most humans on a regular basis. For example, consider the negative emotion of being angry at someone. Perhaps, you were “cut-off” while driving on a highway. For most of us, once we realize the anger we feel is unnecessary and won’t do anyone any good, we let it go and no longer feel it. Therefore, we have been emotionally cleansed of that particular anger-emotion.

When I started this post, my goal was to figure out how I could emotionally cleanse myself. I’m not sure if I have completely figured it out, but I do think I’m well on my way. I feel my mind has been empowered with a method that will allow me to reach my goal of emotionally cleansing myself of negative emotions.

This feeling of empowerment is, for me, a newly-recognized emotion that is positive, and in a sense, acts as weapon which can be used against my negative emotions. Ah, perhaps, that’s it! “Speak it…Write it…Draw it…,” is a method that allows me to bring-out the negative emotions and, once they are out and viewed for what they really are — unnecessary, then I’m empowered to get rid of them. WOW!

Lastly, please consider the following anonymous quote:

“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.” 

—-

☞  Using the quote above, here’s my point of view: “What happened to my son, I must accept – I don’t want to know about grief, but I have to learn – I feel I can’t live without my son, but I have to let go!”

Speak it… Write it… Draw it… — What do you think?


What Is This Thing Called Love?

October, 2010

What is this thing called love? I know, I know, the previous sentence and title of this post is a title of the song, “What Is This Thing Called Love?“. It’s a jazz tune written by Cole Porter in 1929 for the musical, “Wake Up And Dream.” The tune has now become a jazz standard. As someone who likes jazz, I listen to a lot of it (randomly) on my iPod and I often hear one of my eleven different versions.

Frank Sinatra

Here are the last two verses of Cole Porter’s song, “What Is This Thing Called Love?” If you would like to see and hear a YouTube version of Frank Sinatra singing these two verses, please click here.

what is this thing called love
this funny thing
called love
just who can solve its mystery
why should it make
a fool of me?

I saw you there
one wonderful day
you took my heart
and threw it away
that’s why I ask the lord
in heaven above
what is this thing
called love?

So, what is this thing called love? Implications from the above two verses of the song, allows me to conclude that love is a funny thing, can make a fool of me, and will take my heart and throw it away. Well, that’s a fun interpretation, but I doubt if the parts I have picked from the song will add much insight to the question or its answer.

I really want to understand what love is from my point of view. On the surface, it seems like it should be a simple thing, but the more I think of it, the more I’m not sure. Love has so many different meanings. At least, when I looked for definitions and descriptions, I found an incredible amount of diversity. So, what is love (to me)?

Love can be anywhere and everywhere! :-)

Well, love is not friendship, but friendship can be a part of love. Love is not thoughtfulness, but thoughtfulness can be a part of love. Love is not tenderness, but tenderness can be a part of love. Love is not a relationship, but a relationship can be a part of love. As you can see, once I start a sentence with what love is not, I am able to say that what it isn’t, is part of what it is. Wow!

The most common antonym of love is hate. Having stated that, I believe that love is so complex that hate, as an antonym, is insufficient. If I don’t love, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I hate. If I don’t hate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I love. This love-thing is really hard to nail down. At last, I think I can see what Cole Porter was “getting at” when he wrote: WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?

Let’s approach this from a different angle, or point of view. Instead of trying to explain what love is, I’m going to use some quotes that I favor about love and then add comments.

———————————-

First, from Mark Twain.

“Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”

Uhmm. A desire to be desired. Yes, especially when irresistible is added. Love is a strong desire in humans that seems to be universal.

———————————-

Number two is from Elizabeth Browning.

“Love doesn’t make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

I really like this way of viewing love. It speaks to love as something like spice is to food. Here’s another way to view it, using a food metaphor: “love is like an excellent dessert to an otherwise, average meal.”

———————————-

Number three is from Amantine Lucile Dupin, whose pseudonym is George Sand.

“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”

This quote is insightful due to singling out love as unique in human emotion. If we would change happiness to unhappiness, then the result, no matter what other emotion we used, would not be complete.

———————————–

Number four is from the Talmud.

“Where love is, no room is too small.”

Have you ever thought about being in a room and choosing who you want with you? No matter what size the room? Uhmmmm…..

————————————

Number five is from Dr. Seuss.

“When you are in Love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.”

I realize this is “metaphorically speaking,” but I think it really hits home regarding love. In love is a feeling that takes precedence over all other aspects of our life. We can’t dream it better. Nicely stated, Dr. Seuss!

The rest of the quotes are anonymous. I list them without comment. They are all sayings that I like and feel have value in helping us with a better answer for the question: What is this thing called love?

————————————

“Just because someone doesn’t love you in the way you want them to, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you with all they’ve got. “

————————————

“Love is friendship set on fire.”

————————————

“My love for you is a journey; 
Starting at forever, 
And ending at never.”

————————————

“Love puts the fun in together, 
The sad in apart, 
The hope in tomorrow, 
The joy in the heart.”

————————————

We were given: Two hands to hold. Two legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else. For us to find.

————————————

So, again, what is this thing called love? After considering everything presented in this post, perhaps the best response is that love can only be explained by the person who asks the question. In other words, the meaning of love is entirely created and exists uniquely in the mind of each individual person who seeks the meaning of love. Like “art is in the eyes of the beholder,” this thing called love is in the mind of the beholder! :-)

I WOULD LOVE TO READ YOUR COMMENTS!



Do You Make Choices Based On Fear and/or Hate?

December, 2009

No Fear, No Hate, Just Love! Photo by Nickolas Murray, (1892 – 1965) Taken 1939 MCCALL STYLE & BEAUTY

I’m running because I’m afraid, but I love dogs!

How often do we make choices based on fear? Recently, I turned on my radio and the first thing I heard was the following question, “If you were asked to choose between fear, hate or love, which would you choose?” The person who was asked the question immediately responded, “love!” I remember thinking, “that’s obvious!”

I wasn’t able to listen much longer, but from what little time I did, I think the person who asked the question was trying to explain how we often make choices based on fear and/or hate, when love is another reasonable choice.

Let’s look at how we might choose hate and fear, instead of love. Suppose you are looking at a menu in a restaurant and you notice they offer, as a special, an entree that contains one of your favorite fishes. It is a fish that you love to eat. You also notice that one of the sides is a vegetable that you hate. Suppose, because of  hating the side vegetable, you don’t choose the special entree. Your choice was based on hate.

It also may have been based on fear. How, you ask? Sometimes we are afraid to ask if the vegetable that we hate can be replaced with something else. In this case, we chose hate and fear, instead of love.

I hate talking on the telephone, but I love talking to people!

The choosing of hate and fear over love can happen in many other ways. Sometimes, when you make choices that cause you to avoid success, you have chosen hate and/or fear over love. You may have avoided success because you hated doing something, or you were afraid of the commitment.

We all should love ourselves enough to try not to harm our physical health. But, we often make choices out of hate or fear that are harmful to our health. Take, for example, exercising for good health. I know that I hate doing it, but love myself enough to overcome that hate.

Sometimes, I find myself thinking of not exercising out of fear. You see, if I feel a little sore from a previous activity, I sometimes have a fear of hurting myself. Usually, after thinking about it, I realize that the fear is unfounded. All I have to do is take it easy until my muscles “loosen up.” Generally, my fear is more of an excuse than a good reason.

I’m afraid of the computer; should I love it?

Why do we not set goals? Why do we deny what we know is true? Why do we allow others to have our power? Why do we give up control of our own health? Why do we let others affect our emotions? Why do we choose negative emotions over positive emotions? I think it has a lot to do with choosing fear and/or hate instead of love.

Is is possible for fear, hate and love to be felt at the same time? I don’t think so. When we choose fear and/or hate, we are literally, “shutting the door” on love.

So, what should we do? The first thing to do is to make yourself aware of your choices and what they are based on. Next, bring love to the forefront of your mind. Realize that, if you are feeling fear and/or hate, then they need to be replaced with love.  And then, do it!

Have no fear (or hate), this is a love seat! :-)

Don’t choose fear and/or hate. Choose Love!

I would love to read your comment. ;-)


What Is Love?

May, 2009

love

A love post for today. I have been wanting to write this for some time. This post has been started and stopped more times than I can remember. I “flirted,” no pun intended, with it on Valentine’s Day, but was only able to address the subject of the day and my Valentine.

You see, I want to understand what love is from my point of view. On the surface, it seems like it should be a simple thing, but the more I think of it, the more I’m not sure. Love has so many different meanings. At least, when I looked for definitions and descriptions, I found an incredible amount of diversity. So, what is love (to me)?

Well, love is not friendship, but friendship can be a part of love. Love is not thoughtfulness, but thoughtfulness can be a part of love. Love is not tenderness, but tenderness can be a part of love. Love is not a relationship, but a relationship can be a part of love. As you can see, once I start a sentence with what love is not, I am able to say that what it isn’t, is part of what it is. Wow!

The most common antonym of love is hate. Having stated that, I believe that love is so complex that hate, as an antonym, is insufficient. If I don’t love, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I hate. If I don’t hate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I love. This “love thing” is really hard to nail down. At last, I think I can see what Cole Porter was “getting at” when he wrote: WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?

quest-heartLet’s approach this from a different angle, or point of view. Instead of trying to explain what love is,quest-heart I’m going to use some favorite quotes about love and then add my comments.

First, from Mark Twain.

“Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”

Uhmm. A desire to be desired. Yes, especially when “irresistible” is added. Love is a strong desire in humans that seems to be universal.

———————————-

Number two is from Elizabeth Browning.

“Love doesn’t make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

I really like this way of viewing love. It speaks to love as something like spice is to food. Here’s another way to view it, using a food metaphor: “love is like an excellent dessert to an otherwise, average meal.”

———————————-

Number three is from George Sand.

“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”

This quote is insightful due to singling out love as unique in human emotion. If we would change happiness to unhappiness, then the result, no matter what other emotion we used, would not be complete.

———————————–

Number four is from the Talmud.

“Where love is, no room is too small.”

Have you ever thought about being in a room and choosing who you want with you? No matter what size the room? Uhmmmm…..

————————————

Number five is from Dr. Seuss.

“When you are in Love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.”

I realize this is “metaphorically speaking,” but I think it really “hits home” regarding love. “In love” is a feeling that takes precedence over all other aspects of our life. We can’t “dream” it better. Nicely stated, Dr. Seuss.

The rest of the quotes are anonymous. I list them without comment. They are all sayings that I like and feel have value in helping us with a better answer to: What is love?

“Just because someone doesn’t love you in the way you want them to,

doesn’t mean that they don’t love you with all they’ve got. “

————————————

“Love is friendship set on fire.”

————————————

“My love for you is a journey; 
Starting at forever, 
And ending at never.”

————————————

“Love puts the fun in together, 
The sad in apart, 
The hope in tomorrow, 
The joy in the heart.”

————————————

We were given: Two hands to hold. Two legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else. For us to find.

————————————

I WOULD LOVE TO READ YOUR COMMENTS!

love-2

 

grab-small-r21


For Valentine’s Day

February, 2009

love

Valentine’s Day.

What a wonderful day! A day for the purpose of expressing love. A day made for lovers, romantics and friends. I know that I could use more words in the previous sentence to explain what the day is made for.

I wish to list a few short verses that I composed for Valentine’s Day about love and regarding love.

love

Past love is

A whole without the parts

My love is

A whole with all the parts

love

One of my

Favorite places

In the world is

The part of the world

Where my love is.

love

My present love is

A present in the present

That only my love

And I can present.

love

 

Happy Valentine’s Day 

grab-small-r21


 


Love And Time Poem?

January, 2009

lovetime

Love And Time

Love is a quality

Time is a quantity

Love is a qualitative piece of eternity

Time is a quantitative piece of eternity

Should love be timed?

Should time be loved?

I’m thinking there is a connection between love and time.  The “poem” above gives you an idea of what I mean.  I put the word “poem” in quotes to emphasize that I’m not comfortable in declaring that it is a poem.  Verbiage, statements, rambling, etc. might be better descriptions, but for now, I think I will call it poetry.

Now let’s dive deeper into love and time.  There is a short story entitled “Love And Time” that shows how love and other feelings we humans have can be metaphorically viewed. The last line declares that only time is capable of understanding how valuable love is.  How true.

From my point of view, being a person who is beyond mature, time truly has given me the understanding of how valuable love is.  As a child, I saw love as a “feel-good” emotion.  I now see love as an emotion that I only understand with the passing of time AND that for love to be true it must be tested with time.

Perhaps Laura Nyro said it best in her song Time And Love .  She sang that “nothing cures like time and love.”  If it takes time to have true love and love is, at least in my opinion, a good and “curing” emotion, then indeed, I have the answers to my questions.

Should love be timed?  YES!

Should time be loved?  YES!

images

grab-small-r21


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