One of the fruits of a self-love practice (that isn’t ego-centered) is that we naturally think of others. It’s really cool.
I remember a very big turning point in my life. I had just turned 26 and was living in San Francisco. I had been there for nearly three years just going to grad school, making art, doing my thing. I was taking up meditation pretty seriously at that time and had gotten back into yoga. Other things were changing as well including cooking at home more than I ever had before. I remember going to a group that I practiced with and having this experience of feeling like I was seeing everyone in the room for the first time. I’d known some of them for years and had sat in rooms with them many times previously, but this time there was a huge difference, a major internal shift was taking place and I see now it was just the beginning.
From that point on I found it easy to remember peoples names. I realize that might sound like a small thing but for me it wasn’t. I was great at remembering a lot of stuff but peoples names were never at the top of my list. Today I don’t find it challenging at all. Sure, I make mistakes and forget on occasion, but that is a far cry from before. I believe this is a direct result of me taking better care of myself, and I have seen similar transformations happen with others.
The deal is yes, I have been very self-centered in my life. I couldn’t remember names because I was literally too busy thinking about me! Who has time to do both? I know it seems small, but people really appreciate it when you remember their name, they feel seen and in this day and age I think that is important. In order for me to see others I have to be willing to see myself. It has to start with me.
Having spent years practicing different exercises and techniques to love myself fully has allowed me to gain access to a wealth of compassion and gratitude. This is the stuff I wish I knew when I was younger but get that it can really only be learned through actual experience. It’s one thing to read a book and absorb the content, it’s entirely different to live it. And living it is where it’s at. Having this direct line to gratitude through taking care of myself gives me the energy to thank the people in my life that support me.
Is there anyone in your life that has helped you out recently that you want to thank? Perhaps a supportive friend that continues to show up for you, a boss that gave you a raise, your neighbor for reminding you to move your car before street cleaning (yes that has happened to me more than once!)? Think of someone you want to thank and send them a little something in the mail. The contents are less important than the gesture. A little gratitude can go a very long way—and it makes everyone feel good.