We spend our whole lives living with ourselves. It is the longest and most intimate of all relationships we will ever have, and the one we take most for granted. Yet it’s extraordinary how often we feel as if we’re living inside a stranger, such as when we get ill or get surprised by ourselves, such as falling in love with the least likely person. Realistically, we should know ourselves better than knowing anyone else, but more often than not we tend to dislike ourselves, are constantly finding fault, and so reject what we find. Then we look for love anywhere other than with ourselves.
How totally sad that we should dislike the person we spend our life with! We have the opportunity for the deepest and most sustaining love affair of all, and instead we criticize and invalidate, dismissing our own thoughts, ideas, and needs as unimportant. The Buddha said there is no one more deserving of love than ourselves. That’s a big statement and can be hard to actuate, especially as it appears so much easier to love others. But can our love for others really be genuine if we’re not loving ourselves?
Self-doubt brings fear, such as the fear of failure, of the dark, of being out of control, of not being good enough. We fear loving because we doubt our ability to love and so fear rejection; we fear being generous because we doubt our capacity to generate more and fear we will not have enough. We fear sharing our thoughts or feelings for doubt that we will appear wrong or stupid. Doubt brings mistrust, which appears real, even though it may have no real substance. It arises when the ego is threatened or undermined. Such doubt creates worry, nervous disorders and even paranoia. It is the enemy of real happiness.
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