Have You Forgotten How to Love Yourself
That is the title of a Red House Painters song from several years ago. The band has since split but the lead singer – Mark Kozelek, has gone on to perform solo and in another band he started called Sun Kil Moon. When you listen to Have you Forgotten: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mb1ILIQvdM I am certain you will feel the pain and sentiment in his lyrics and tone. The reason I post about this song is when it came up on my playlist last night, I was reminded about how important this song has been for me at different points in my life. The song was originally brought to my attention by my good friend Jason. At the time, the Red House Painters was his favorite band and to this day, Mark Kozelek remains one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters.
The song is beautifully written and evokes images from my own childhood at Christmas and during carefree times in the summer. Each time I hear the chorus, I think about the question of whether I “Have Forgotten How to Love Myself?” Most of us spend so much time not loving ourselves. Whether it is the unhealthy foods or drinks we consume or the thoughts of self-loathing we allow to run amok inside our craniums, we are better at loving a pet or someone else than ourselves. Most people have been taught that it is selfish to put yourself first but when it comes to love, it really should be that we do love ourselves first and foremost. The world is full of people who will not love you or even like you so we better make sure we at least love ourselves.
I have had numerous conversations with patients and family members about remembering to love yourself. In fact Resetting to Base Frequency in the Ekahi Method is really just remembering to honor yourself. By spending some time each day in meditation or being mindful, we get in touch with our Base Frequency and with ourselves. It is during these quiet, mindful periods that we have the best opportunity to honor ourselves. As strange as it might seem, when I am sitting peacefully, I will tell myself that I love myself. I know what you are thinking, “What a narcissist!”
Believe it or not, there is such a term in Psychology known as “Healthy Narcissism”. In fact psychologists such as Freud, Kohut, and Millon all talked about Unhealthy or Destructive Narcissism vs. Healthy Narcissism. Ronnie Solan went so far as to talk about the importance of Healthy Narcissism for survival and to prevent one from slipping into the same fate as Narcissus – loving yourself to the point of become excessively vane and self-centered.
It seems to me that in a world where bullies can hide anonymously behind the virtual curtain and easily hurt people, we need to know we are loved more than ever. By feeling loved and secure, we increase our self esteem and become more resilient to the inevitable stones and arrows directed towards us. In the Unicef Study of Children in 2007, just over half of children in the United States between 11-15 reported their peers as “kind and helpful”. Canadian kids did not fare much better at approximately 65%. So if kids are not feeling a lot of kindness and love from their peers, do they feel it at home? In the same study, less than half of 15 year old Canadian kids report their parents spending time just talking and connecting with them. While data like this is discouraging, every child and every person can start by making a point to love themselves.
I encourage you to download the song (legally!) by Mark Kozelek or listen on YouTube and spend some time (the song is over 8 minutes) remembering to love yourself.