Have you ever considered that you fall in love with others, partially, as a manifestation of falling in love with yourself? This isn’t yet a belief that I’ve fully established but more of a working notion. I can imagine that some of you may have readily dismissed this notion thinking that there are so many things about your spouse or partner that you now don’t like. Let me explain.
I believe that what we ultimately enjoy about others is what they bring out in us. In other words, I love being around people who bring out the things in me that I love. I love to laugh and have fun. And I love to be around people who bring that out in me. We usually say that “so-and-so” is a fun person to be around. But, have you ever stopped to think that it is you who is fun when “so-and-so” is around? Yes, it might be true that he is a fun person. But, I believe you’ll also find it true that you are equally fun when you are around him.
I’ve found it to be true for me that what I dislike in others are the same things that I dislike about myself. I tried for years to hide that from my own view so that I wouldn’t have to face it. But, just as that is true for me, so is the opposite. I find that what I like in others are the things that I like in me. The things that I admire others for are also qualities that I possess. You may not readily see this for yourself. We’re funny creatures that way – in that we don’t often like to see the good in ourselves. We’re typically very critical of ourselves and yet go to great lengths to defend our thoughts and actions to others! It seems paradoxical to me. But, if you don’t see that the qualities you admire in others are actually qualities you possess, I would challenge you to consider that simply as a possibility. Just consider the possibility that this is the way it is rather than just dismissing it. And then look for yourself to see if it is true or not.
I might even go one step further and say that you can only admire in others what you also have in yourself. And, I’ll assert that if you didn’t have those admirable qualities, you wouldn’t notice them in others. We can really only see in others what we see in ourselves – both the things that we admire and the things that we detest. It’s not that others don’t possess other attributes. But, we generally reflect others to others, just as they reflect us to us.
It might be true that another is freer in a certain area than you. Or, that another is more demonstrative of a certain attribute than you. But, that doesn’t mean that those attributes are not in you. They just may not be as exercised as they are by someone else.
You see, any attribute you have must be exercised just like a muscle. In order to develop in any area – joy, love, happiness, peace – you must exercise that muscle in order to more fully develop your level of adeptness. Practicing being joyful will allow you to have fuller and fuller expressions of joy. Surrounding yourself with people who bring that quality out in you will also exercise that muscle.
What attributes of your character do you love? Which ones do you want to display more? You can have more laughter in your life but it will take practice. And, it will take surrounding yourself with people who share that same quality with you and bring it out in you.
Consider the possibility of falling in love with yourself again. As a child, you loved yourself fully without consideration. Consider now, the possibility of setting aside any considerations or concerns you have about any lack of character you think you may have. Can you give up those concerns? Is that a possibility for you? If so, give them up. Allow yourself to love yourself freely once more. Learn to embrace yourself fully for who you are and what you have to offer the world.