The Authentic Desert:

Adoring Your True Self

“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.” – Charles Bukowski

In order to love others fully, you must first love and accept yourself. When you don’t value yourself, when you’re filled with insecurities and self loathing, the relationships you cultivate with other people will typically be lacking and prone to dysfunction. This is partially because, whether you realize it or not, you’ll likely be revealing your insecurities to everyone around you, signaling to the world that you’re damaged, that you don’t value yourself. And of course, if you don’t value yourself then why should anyone else?

However, beyond creating a deprecated image of yourself in the minds of others’, you’ll also be prone to trying to diminish your insecurities, to fill the eroded chasms of your self image with the interactions or comforts that these other people provide. Rather than seeking out relationships because you truly value the other person, you’ll only value how that other person makes you feel, what they can add to your life that you’re lacking, how they’re able to “complete” all of the things missing from your self image. This isn’t just unhealthy, it’s also unstable and disingenuous.

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield

You must first value your identity, really love and care for your actual self, before you can be a truly giving person who is capable of imparting these altruisms to the world that surrounds you. If you cannot appreciate yourself, you’ll find that you are more prone to unhappiness, to self doubt, and you will in turn be held back not just from reaching your own personal potential, but from maximizing the good you can do for others as well. Life is difficult, and we all have flaws. Keep improving and doing the best you can, but above all else learn to be kind to yourself so that you may do the same for others.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance.” – Oscar Wilde

The only person who is ever guaranteed to be a constant fixture in your reality, is you. You can change things about yourself, improving what you embody, but you can never escape yourself, you can never avoid who you really are. This is why you must nurture a positive perspective about yourself, fostering a productive point of view that empowers and seeks to cherish the very essence of your being. You are your own greatest ally, the only one on whom you can ever truly depend. You must love yourself so that you can navigate the challenges of the universe effectively, with the defense of a strong ego that manifests maximum resiliency. As Confucius once said, “and remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

“Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Many people spend inordinate amounts of time and effort throughout their lives trying to be someone they are not. That is not to say that people should not grow, change or reinvent themselves. These actions are essential to personal discovery and self actualization. Rather, It is to say that many expend a great deal of struggle trying to embody a persona more favorable to the outside world but one which conflicts with the core tenants of their internal self, of their genuine being. You cannot escape from who you are, so attempting to mask or evade your deepest principles, your most profound realities, is purely self destruction, self sacrifice, likely conducted at the behest of others and certainly only for their benefit.

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” – Andre Gide

When all is said and done, one must be true to themselves. To do anything less is to whittle away your integrity, your charity and perhaps even your sanity. You should always take the perspectives of others into account, seeking to improve yourself, to grow and become a better person for yourself and those around you. You should not, however, sacrifice what you value most, try to hide from yourself or stifle your true essence. Aspire to create the best version of yourself, not to lose yourself, as this will only bring regret.