How to be kind to yourself & transform the energy in your life: become more successful and more productive in life, love and at your workplace
Chapter 1 – What is Love?
Well? What is it? For those who have not been fortunate enough to experience it in their lives (and it’s possible that you haven’t, if you’re reading this book), the only estimation you can make is by watching a Lifetime movie or a soap opera (I didn’t say the estimate needs to be exact). It is a simple observation that people who love each other give hugs, kisses, and other affectionate acts. One obvious sign of love is saying those three words to one another. But, what is going on inside the mind? Aside from the physical actions you know are the actions of love, how can you define the meaning of love itself? The possibilities are endless.
It wasn’t until I was 25 that I experienced true love. Sure, my father loved me and today I know he still does, he’s just not very good at showing it (sorry, Dad–you know I love you). But, for years my absence of true love left me starved for it, yearning to feel accepted completely by another human being, loved for my strengths and for my flaws. I began to think that it was my flaws that were keeping me from feeling love. So, I became a perfectionist and a control freak. If anything wasn’t exactly how I planned it, everything was wrong. The world had to stop revolving until I regained my footing, and everything was perfect again. – Sound familiar? I charged over those who stood in my way of perfection in a fit of curses and shouting. I hurt a lot of people this way.
But, who did I really end up hurting? By putting out all of this negative energy at the cost of keeping everything scaled to perfection, I only felt negative energy in return. And so the cycle continued. By receiving negative energy, my world became imperfect once again, and I had to expel more negative energy to land back to perfect, and so on and so forth. It took me experiencing true, unconditional love to realize this endless cycle of suffering, which thus gave me the power to end it and take back control of my life.
What I realized is that we cannot expect perfection in life. The Universe sprang from chaos, and the only thing that doesn’t change is that things are always changing. It is okay to strive for greatness, but it is unrealistic to expect perfection. Thomas Jefferson put it quite well: “Be firm on principle, but fluid on taste.” In my analogy, I bring in the Oak tree and the wind. The Oak has the strongest root system of any tree on Earth. If you choose to believe in something substantial you must remain firm like the Oak, unswayed by conflicting people’s storm of negative reactions. Quite often those people will yell at you to change your principles, pressure you to change your ways, but if your beliefs are something of true importance you must remain rooted and stand firm.
But even oak trees must sway in the ever-changing wind. Wind, like the taste referred to by Mr. Jefferson, represents the ever-changing mood or fancy of a person. One day you might like the color purple; the next you might like the color blue. This does not mean you should make it an oak tree and beat every person who likes the color orange with a wooden club. Rather, let the wind of people’s tastes be formless, easy-going, and impermanent. Too often people spout out their opinions with such self-righteousness that they blow over anyone with a different mindset, and lose many friends along the way. They end up looking like a pompous ass with no communication skills.
Don’t look like the ass. Instead, use the tools in this book to harness chaos and use it to transform your life for the better. This book will teach you how to embrace change, chaos, and the true nature of Life itself while remaining true to your own beliefs. You will learn how to become like the Oak and like the wind, strong in principle but fluid on taste. Once you find this power within you, you’ll be able to transform your interactions within yourself, with your coworkers, and even with your lover. You will find renewed energy and a new-found appreciation for your strengths—and weaknesses—which allow you to take on new challenges and experience real growth.