I acknowledge this cartoon from the internet.
In his eighth principle, Thomas Leonard says: Become irresistibly attractive to yourself.
Many of us focus on being attractive to other people. Our concern is primarily about what others think of us. If occasionally a small shrill inner voice tells us that we are not all there, we silence it with swift inattention.
Being worthy of oneself is not part of our primary agenda. Being worthy of others is.
From childhood, our caregivers nurture and condition us into seeking their approval. It is as if we move through life, all seven stages of it, with a note-book and pen requesting others to write us a testimonial. It starts with our mom and dad, spreads to family elders, later to teachers and then to every one who matters to us at that point in time.
Attention need is a disease. It robs us of our self-worth. We dance to other people’s tunes, because we no longer respect ourselves. We do not consider our own valuation of ourselves as valuable. Others must testify to good we are, to them, so hat they can manipulate us to fulfill their needs.
There is nothing wrong in helping others fulfill their needs. It’s in fact our duty and obligation to help others. But, this duty must start with us. Charity does begin at home. We must ensure that we are full and fulfilled first. Only then can we fulfill others.
When we truly love ourselves, it is not narcissism. It is self-awareness.
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we need to fulfill several layers of needs before we can reach the state of fulfilling ourselves. Maslow calls it self-actualization. This is a Western perception.
The Eastern perception reverses Maslow’s pyramid. Everything starts with self-actualization. That is our purpose in life. Once we realize ourselves, all our needs are automatically fulfilled. We are left with no needs.
If one studies Maslow’s hierarchy of needs carefully against the reality of life, it’s easy to see that we never get over even our primary survival needs all through our lives. Each layer of need overlaps the other, despite Maslow’s assertion that we cannot ascend his pyramid till we fulfill the needs of each stage.
However, if we start truly loving ourselves to begin with, we invert the pyramid and miraculously all our needs get fulfilled.