Blake D. Bauer, author of You Were Not Born to Suffer, has helped thousands of people find happiness in their lives. The following is an excerpt from an insightful talk he gave on how learning to love yourself could be the key to inner peace.
For me, the most valuable, priceless question on the planet, in human conscious, is “How do you actually love yourself?” And thank God, thank whatever you want to thank, the answer is so simple and it’s the same.
So, how do you love yourself? How do you accept yourself? How do you be yourself? How do you forgive yourself? How do you value yourself? How do you believe in yourself? What is the key to all of those things? The answer is one thing—to speak and act based on your truth, in every moment of every day.
So, when you leave here tonight, the key to healing all of your problems—whether it’s physical disease, depression, a job you don’t love, a relationship you don’t like, attracting the right partner—is to start to be a hundred percent honest and vulnerable with everything you say and to act in alignment with that true feeling in your heart.
A heart that feels cared for becomes a body that feels better to be in and one that I want to take care of, because I love connecting in this human body. I love to love, and I want more of it. I came here to be free inside what is often perceived as a cage, the body. But if you go through this process, you’ll become liberated in the body. So you become fully embodied and free in the body, like a butterfly inside of a body.
But that’s because your circulatory system is not clogged up, and your subconscious is not clogged up with pain that you keep creating by hurting yourself.
So, ‘how do you stop hurting yourself?’ is actually the same question as ‘how do you forgive yourself?’
If you’ve looked back on your life right now, and you think about all the relationships, all the situations where you’ve allowed yourself to be hurt, used, taken advantage of, where you haven’t stuck up for yourself, where you’ve let yourself be a victim, where you’ve let yourself get sick, you’ve let your money be taken from you, whatever it is that you’ve allowed to happen, because you didn’t know better and had a very hard lesson to learn, symbolizes what we need to forgive ourselves for.
This is another priceless question: ‘how do I forgive myself?’ And, for me, I had to get to the practical solution.
Now, everything I’m saying first comes from my own selfish desire to be healthy and happy. I joke that even though I help thousands of people every year, I’m the most selfish man you will ever meet. But I’m also honest about it. And you’re just as selfish as me, but your selfishness might not yet be as healthy as me—but maybe it’s healthier than me.
So, how do we forgive ourselves? The key to forgiving ourselves, which also happens to be the key to forgiving other people, is to stop hurting yourself. And this gets uncomfortable.
How do I forgive myself? I have to stop hurting myself and stop letting myself get hurt.
How do I stop hurting myself and letting myself get hurt?
I speak and act, based on the truth, in every single moment, in every situation. That’s how you stop hurting yourself and stop letting yourself get hurt.
And yes, things might crumble for a little while because, if you’re really honest, you might be in a marriage you’re not happy with or in a job you’re not happy with. A relationship, or even a friendship or a family relationship, can be built on eggshells. So you start being totally honest, and fireworks start happening.
But you will get to the other side. If you can continue to be honest—and again, a big part of communicating is being kind and as clear as you can be in your communications, to be able to say ‘I feel hurt. I feel angry,’ instead of ‘Fuck you, you asshole,’ or ‘You’re such a bitch,’ which is just code for ‘I feel hurt, and I feel angry.’
We’ve never learned this form of communication. And so we keep breaking each other’s hearts and hurting ourselves. And we disappoint ourselves, because if I treat you horribly with my words and my actions, I then feel guilty and ashamed and regret it because I know I can do better, but I just haven’t learned how.
That’s an important next step. We don’t want to just say, ‘You’re a piece of shit,’ and that’s me being honest. It’s about ‘I feel hurt. I feel angry. I feel scared. I feel ashamed. I miss you. I don’t like being around you. I need space.’ These are the hardest things to say, and to say them with grace. But, ultimately, that does become a healthier perspective.
You Were Not Born to Suffer
Blake D. Bauer
£10.99, available from Watkins Books