I Love Myself because My Life Depends on It.

Naval Ravikant wrote a book called Love Yourself like Your Life Depends on It. (No affiliate link).
I had read it years back and have since given the book to my dad. He has strategically placed it in my work room. Every time I walk in, I see its cover: A silhouette of a man with a large heart, holding a pistol to his head.
I’m writing this to you because a couple months ago, I was feeling crummy because I was just dumped. Without delving into the details, I have only good things to say about that person. But that didn’t help my own situation. I was hurting and unsure why. I was of no help to anyone. You included.
I walk into my work room in a daze. Now what? I guess I’ll immerse myself in work. Other people. Video games. Any sensory-drowning distraction. Anything to silence the din of my internal riot. Why why why? Why why why?
I see the book’s cover. I flip through it. Hm. I decide on Naval’s advice: to say I love myself. No more, no less. By repeating this phrase to myself, I would solidify my dedication.
I will love myself so much that I can’t help but share this love with those around me. Especially you reading this. I love myself. I love myself. I love myself.
I did not believe it for a few weeks. Fake it till you make it, as the platitude goes. I thought I did after the first day but I was wrong. I was still in shock. A functioning shock-aholic.
A few weeks later, I lapsed. I was angry for a moment, lashing out unconsciously out of anxiety and hurt. Much like a doomed rampaging bull, bucking towards the celebrated Matador. That person the matador. But they weren’t there. A lone bull in an empty stadium, fighting an apparition.
My truth was emotionally skewed. Biased. But in hindsight, the truth is I didn’t love myself enough. I’m only human.
But by repeating this phrase, I’ve trained myself. Whenever I feel negative, I think, I love myself. After three times, I can’t help but smile to myself.
Try it out now. Say I love myself a couple times. In your head. Then out loud.  Maybe you do not believe it but if you do it enough, you will. It certainly helped me.
Why not?
Thank you. And thanks, Naval.
P.S. Dandapani also has a great tool set for anxiety and loneliness. He says his master told him to be fiercely present in the moment and to lean on your own spine.
P.P.S. In his interview with Lewis Howes,¬†Tony Robbins says he gives himself 90 seconds. Life is tough and many terrible things will be thrown at you. But you have to fully dedicate yourself to being happy. Help others and you’ll be happy yourself. Love yourself. I love myself. I love myself. I love myself.

“I lost my driver’s licence over 20 years ago…”

I picked up my first hitchhiker today. A gruff, Native-American man with a long ponytail with naturally grey & white streaks. He wore black and grey clothes with a green military camo backpack. I pull over and he begins hurrying towards my car.

I hastily clean the passenger seat of the wool blanket and the empty chocolate soy milk carton. He jumps in and says thanks, thanks, noticeably exhausted. I appreciate it, I had already been walking seven miles. I ask his name. He says with a Native American accent, Gerald. He asks for mine. I oblige.

How far do you need to go? Oh, just up to the reservation a mile down.

He has been hitchhiking since he got his licence taken away. I didn’t ask why. I had more questions about his experiences. Back then, he says it was calmer. He recounts how nowadays, people throw garbage, sometimes bottles at him. Because of that, he hurt his neck. One time, he almost caught up to someone who threw something at him and it scared the crap out of that guy. He says he wouldn’t do anything. I guessed he was better than that.

His Dad used to do the same thing – hitchhiking. Mostly, Gerald is typically picked up by old women who are coming home from work, bored and want company.

Drop me off at that bus stop. That’s where the reservation is, he says.
He asks for my name again as if to assure me he would always remember me. It’s Stephen. Since we stopped, I finally see his face. Gruff. Experienced. But happy. I can see the creases in his face showing his deeply carved pattern of smiles.

He repeats my name a few times to himself. He says thank you, Stephen.
The door closes. As I drive away, he waves profusely, smiling.

A short four minutes.

Could he have been dangerous? Sure.
Then why? I just wanted to do something different.
And I’ll always remember it.