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Power of self love

PTI | ByJaya Ramesh, Lifepositive
Sep 08, 2004 05:56 PM IST

To know yourself, you must love yourself. For it is only when you are filled with love that you can share this gift with the world.

If someone were to ask me: "What is the most difficult challenge that you've faced in your life?" I would unhesitatingly reply: "To be myself." To be oneself in all situations is often an impossible job that calls for effort, courage and brutal honesty. But, to be myself I need to know myself. And to know myself, I must love myself.

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Most of us hate to describe ourselves as self-loving because we have been told that this is narcissistic. That there is an element of wantonness in admitting: "I am a wonderful person and I love myself." Years ago, steeped in unhappiness and envy, I had sourly asked Antara Kumar, a very close friend, what made her such great company. Her unabashed reply was: "When I look into the mirror, I am happy with what I see. I never allow my imperfections to neutralize what is best in me. I accept myself without conditions."

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Dale Carnegie, the best-selling author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, tells the story of a woman, Edith, who, as a child, used to be sensitive, shy and overweight. She never went to parties, never had any fun and always felt that she was different and undesirable. Later, she married a man several years her senior. Her in-laws were all outgoing, poised and confident people. But that did not affect Edith's shyness.

She felt she was a failure and feared that if her husband found out the truth, it would be the end of their marriage. So, Edith put up a show of gaiety, while deep within unhappiness eroded her. One day, she overheard her mother-in-law say, referring to the secret behind her children's poise and happiness: "No matter what happened, I always insisted on my children being themselves." Almost overnight Edith changed. She began a search for herself, building on her strong points, accepting without apology her weaker points.

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