Monday, May 29, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 19 – Love: How to Really Love Yourself

Over the past two weeks with this blog series you have seen the importance I think loving others is, as with chapter 18 (Love: How to Really Love Other People) I had to spend two weeks on because I thought there were so many GREAT points to be shared. Well, while this chapter I will only cover in one week, I do not want its importance to be undertook. This chapter is JUST as important, and actually, more important in my eyes, as I firmly believe you can not truly love others unless you can first love yourself.

More often then not, issues of over-eating, smoking, excessive drinking, depression, etc. can be tied back to a lack of self-love. Yes, stress is involved, but that stress very well could be deeply related to one’s own view of their self—one’s lack of love for their self.

I don’t necessarily like the term “self-hatred” because that is difficult to come to grips with a person. Many people like to say, “Well I don’t ‘hate’ myself, I just don’t love myself.” Apathetic I suppose? HA! Well whatever you want to keep telling yourself… ;)

Basically, I just want to make sure the importance of loving one’s self is understood.


And that is what I love about Reed College because even though there are so many students having sex and tripping on drugs and whatever, there is also this foundational understanding that other people exist and they are important, and to me Reed is like heaven in that sense. I wish everybody could spend four years in a place like that, being taught the truth, that they matter regardless of their faults, regardless of their insecurities.

We all have our faults; even those of us that will go to extreme measures to try to keep them hidden. Faults are to be human. Faults and all, we matter as a person. Yes, we can be insecure about our faults and hope that people don’t see them, and to hope that they won’t be pointed out to others, and to long to forget them, but still we are human and we deserve to be loved and accepted through our faults—whether they are widely known or not.


My friend Julie from Seattle says the key to everything rests in the ability to receive love, and what she says is right because my personal experience tells me so. I used to not be able to receive love at all, and to this day I have some problems, but it isn’t like it used to be.

You know, I’d have to agree with Julie on this one. Here is my figuring…

I believe in life we are all about gaining acceptance; acceptance from our loved ones, from our peers, from our co-workers, from our community, etc. Acceptance, to me, is a form of love, and if you are unable to receive love, even a small form of love, such as acceptance by a co-worker or an acquaintance in your community (someone whom you are not all that close too), if you can’t accept that piece of love, you can not accept greater levels of acceptance and love.

And though many do not like to be faced with this idea, being unable to accept and receive love boils back down to the idea of a lack of self-love for yourself—believing you are unworthy of someone else’s love. Believing you are unlovable. It is a tough struggle, but it is a struggle SO many face.


There was always, within me, this demand for affection, this needy, clingy monkey on my back. I wouldn’t be satisfied unless the girl wanted to get married right away, unless she was panicky about it, and even then I would imagine non-existent scenario in which she finds another man or breaks up with me because the way I look. I would find myself getting depressed about conversations that never even took place.

I want to leave that point at that and just ask this one question…

Do you ever find yourself getting depressed about things that haven’t even happened?


“You seem so normal, Don. You have a company and are a writer and all.” Diane looked at me, bewildered.

“Yeah. But there is something wrong with me, isn’t there?”

I was half hoping she would say no. I was hoping she would explain that everybody is nuts when they get into a relationship, but then it turns euphoric shortly after marriage and sex. But she didn’t.

“Well, Don, there is. There is something wrong with you.”

“Oh, man,” I said. “I just knew it. I just knew I was a wacko.”

I thought about the movie “A Beautiful Mind” and wondered whether any of my housemates existed or whether those guys who kept following me were in the FBI.

My sole purpose for sharing this portion is because I LOVE the last part. If you have ever seen the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” you HAVE to tell me you’ve had that thought cross your mind before! HA! I love it!

[Clarification: “I love it” that we all have that thought cross our mind, not that I wonder if I’m schizophrenic…HA!]

We all have probably had stressful times when we have wondered if we were really going crazy! HA!


She broke it off. She sent me a letter saying that I didn’t love myself and could not receive love from her.

It’s unfortunate sometimes that people have to be confronted and shown in such a blunt manner issues like that, but sometimes that is just what it comes down to. It is something that, depending on the style of the therapist, you could get it that blunt in therapy as well.

Whatever the case, however the person ends up being “fed” the news, it is once they get it, and I mean when they truly SEE it, that they are able to have the moment that is referred to in therapy as the “ah ha” moment. Once they have the “ah ha,” it is then that healing and self-love can begin.


The sentiment was simple: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I would never talk to my neighbor the way I talked to myself, and that somehow I had come to believe it was wrong to kick other people around but it was okay to do it to myself.

While this sounds so ironic, it is often so true. So often, those who have no self-love are ones that are trying their best to love everyone else with the best of their ability, even if it isn’t all that much to start with.

It typically comes down to a comparing thing, where an individual views their self as not worthy of love, because they could be comparing their self to others who they deem as “worthy.” And since they see these “others” as worthy, they are of course “worthy” of love, so the person does their best to love the “others.”

Did you follow me on that one?

Basically, since I believe I can’t love myself, I will love others.

I understand this is not ALWAYS the case, but it is in many.

For some people it comes down to the belief that none of us are “worthy” of being loved, especially one’s own self. And for those I love this point…


If it is wrong for me to receive love, then it is also wrong for me to give it because by giving it I am causing somebody else to receive it, which I had presupposed was the wrong thing to do.

Now there’s a throw-it-in-your-face statement. HA! I love it, but it is true, if one is going to believe that “it is wrong for [them] to receive love.”


And so I have come to understand that strength, inner strength, comes from receiving love as much as it comes from giving it.

That’s right. And with that being the case, how you learn to “Really Love Other People” is through loving yourself first!

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]

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