Friday, July 11, 2008

Importance of Self

Lately, when I think deeply, or really-- philosophically, I keep arriving at the same end…in order to be happy, fulfilled thoroughly, and then pass on our positive energy, and love-- completely to others…we must look inward first.…ultimately, being happy and content with ourselves. (Comfortable in our own skin so to speak.) The bigger, but simpler picture that I see is “we” must know, and love ourselves fully and unconditionally before we can be there truly, and completely for someone else.

I’m not necessarily talking about romantic love. This philosophy can be applied to all relationships.

Being content, complete, and happy with one’s self is not an easy task. In fact, at times it occurs to me that absolute self knowing, and self love might not be humanly possible. But, me being a glass half full kind of girl, I will say I think we can come damn close.

For me, it’s an upward battle that I’m constantly struggling with. However, it is a good struggle, and somewhat reassuring because it is so constant.

Below are some works that speak to this topic. Please take a moment to enjoy them.

The first, is a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.

Tonight, this strange interior gesture of friendship—the lending of a hand to myself when nobody else is around to offer solace—reminds me of something that happened to me once in New York City. I walked into an office building one afternoon in a hurry, dashed into the waiting elevator. As I rushed in, I caught an unexpected glimpse of myself in a security mirror’s reflection. In that moment my brain did an odd thing—it fired off this split second message: “Hey! You know her! That’s a friend of yours.” And I actually ran forward toward my own reflection with a smile, ready to welcome that girl whose name I had lost but whose face was so familiar.

Now Private Party by India.Arie:

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin' baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

I tried to call my mother, but
She didn't get where I was going
I called my boyfriend and he said
Call me back a little later baby
I hung up the phone, I felt so alone
Started to feel a little pity
That's when I realized that I
Gotta find the joy inside of me


I'm gonna take off all my clothes
Look at myself in the mirror
We're gonna have a conversation
We're gonna heal the disconnection
I don't remember when it started
But this is where it's gonna end
My body is beautiful and sacred
And I'm gonna celebrate it


All my life (all my life)
I've been looking for (I've been looking for)
Somebody else (else)
To make me whole (ooo)
But I had to learn the hard way (ooo)
True love began with me (ooo)
This is not ego or vanity (ooo)
I'm just celebrating me


Sometimes I'm alone but never lonely
That's what I've come to realize
I've learned to love the quiet moments
The Sunday mornings of life
Where I can reach deep down inside
Or out into the universe
I can laugh until I cry
Or I can cry away the hurt


Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday

[Chorus 2x]

And finally a poem by Derek Walcot that I posted here last year.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott


A New Yorker said...

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! I love that song of her's. I play it often. BTW the birthday line came to me last year as I woke up on my birthday and i knew it was grandma wishing me a happy one. It was really cool!

Hemanth Potluri said...

wow lovely song Jessica...loved the post very much..ur explanation soo cool ..i read the post 2 times to know the complete abt her...

the lyrics r so awesome..Have a gr8 weekend buddy...


Anonymous Mom said...

All three of these were great. I loved the poem. I agree with your philosophy and I think we will always (hopefully) be learning and growing closer the goal of Love for self and others. It makes me think of this quote from Socrates that I love: "The unexamined life is not worth living". What do you think of that quote?

Arv said...

totally agree with you... we must learn to be at peace with ourselves before trying to spread the love around :)

Have a nice weekend mate, Cheers...

Gina said...

I will click the video in a moment...

But I liked what I read so far.

I wholeheartedly agree-- I don't think that we could effectively give love to others if we don't give it to ourselves first.

Have a nice weekend Jessica!

Reflections Magazine editor said...

"we must look inward first.…ultimately, being happy and content with ourselves. (Comfortable in our own skin so to speak.)"

Amen sister!

Great post Jessica!

hopefaithbelieve said...

So true. I am always the happiest when I feel good about myself. My circumstances rarely change; just the way I look at them and the way I look at me.

Malcolm said...

This post was eloquent and to the point. Not to get all New-Agey, but it does start from within. I also liked the works that you shared. I actually pictured Ms. Gilbert running towards her own reflection. "The Sunday mornings of life" lyric from the India.Arie song is one that I'm going to remember for future reference. I wasn't familiar with Derek Walcot until now; I like his style.

Jessica said...

Aw, that’s cool…I love this song. She’s really figured “it” out! :)

Her music IS wonderful. :)

I LOVE that quote! It is one of my favorites, and so true. If “we” just sit back and accept things at face value, about ourselves, others, and the world, we would not grow, change, and experience life to the fullest.

Inner peace is where it’s at! :D

Thanks…it’s nice to see you! :)

Aw, thanks! :D I’m just glad I figured this out…it has helped me tons!

Hope (don’t know if you are using your real name, so for today Hope it is!),
Hey girl!! :) Thanks for the visit. I love that—“ My circumstances rarely change; just the way I look at them and the way I look at me.”
So, true!

Hey-thanks! :) Yeah, I’ve been catching myself being new-agey a lot lately, but that is not bad. lol
It actually allows me to have more moments of peace…and that is always good!
I like the “Sunday Mornings of Life” lyric too; it said a lot to me. Thanks again for helping me start my India.Arie collection!