By Ryan Hutchins
One of the most important things that you can do in life is to be your own friend.
Friendship in itself (or sharing yourself and your life with others) is perhaps the greatest experience that one can have in life. Deep friendships, rooted in love, trust and understanding give a great joy to existence. It should not be forgotten though that to have a great friend one must be a great friend. This applies not only to other people, but to oneself. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t possibly love anyone else. One must cultivate true friendship with themselves. This is not a message that most people usually are handed, but I can think of no advice that I would rather give or follow.
Trust yourself and understand that regardless what comes your way in life you have the strength not only to make it though, but thrive. You alone hold the keys to all your dreams. Be confident in who you are.
There is no better version of you.
We often look at our lives and ourselves as shallow versions of what might or could be, but I am telling you the exact opposite. All your glory is staring back at you each time you look in the mirror. Every time you search within yourself, your benevolence shines through. You need not look any further. The quickest way to finding happiness is by following your heart, and the easiest way to lose sight of it is following the desires of others. Real love births from this understanding and acceptance.
No one knows for certain what there is beyond this life, and there may be no other life at all. You may only get one life, and only one chance to exist. This person that you are right now might be all that you ever are, so why cherish it? Cherish yourself in all your evil and glory.
Love your imperfections. Imperfections and differences are what make each one of us unique and special. One should not only cultivate compassion for others but extend this compassion to yourself. Be kind and love yourself.
To the one who has accepted themselves completely, there is no room for judgment of others. That person can both enjoy their own beauty and yet still have compassion for their inner evil. That person understands that all people are deeply rooted in both positive and negative, and all variations of human beings are no different than how some trees grow short, and some grow tall, or how the clouds shift and shape. To me, this is something that has been difficult to put into practice, but I have found a trick that helps me, and I would like to share it with you.
The trick is that realizing that regardless of how hard we try, there are certain aspects of myself that we just cannot accept. The trick is accepting this too. You may have difficulty loving yourself completely, because you are not what you think you should be, or what you want to be. Suspend your judgment. Where do you even get the idea of what you should be? Why should you be anything other than what you are?
If you don’t trust that yourself now, how could you be certain that this better you would in fact be better? Furthermore, is it even possible to be anything other than what you are?
If it isn’t, then immediately we can see through all the misconceptions that we have learned. In an instant, inner peace can find us. In this moment the shackles containing us break, and we are free. We find ourselves free from the bondage that we placed ourselves in. We spend so much time putting ourselves down that we forget that we are the ones who hold the keys to our salvation.
In the words of Gandhi, “No one can hurt me without my permission.” Likewise, no one can tell you that you aren’t what you should be unless you allow them to.
There is no better expression or version of you than there is right now. Whatever it is and however you feel it, it is what and how it is meant to be. It is hidden in such plain sight that we can easily miss it, but we are exactly where we need to be. Ourselves and our lives are unfolding exactly as they are meant to.
There is no way out, but there is a way in. And you’re it.
Ryan Hutchins is a San Francisco bay area native who lives with his wife, son and two dogs. He is an avid music lover and enjoys exploring different ideas and perspectives. Some of his favorite hobbies include surfing, hiking and going on walks to nowhere, but has lately rediscovered a love for writing and poetry. He is a vegan and large supporter of both animal and human rights, and is hopeful for the day when all can live both simply and in peace. If you are interested in reading more from him or would just love to share a discussion with a friend, you can find him at mysticsofgnar.wordpress.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor: Dana Gornall