I recently came across this text (or poem) called “As I began to love myself”. The question about whether Charlie Chaplin wrote it or not doesn’t really matter, it is the wisdom in this short text that resonated with my experience of having to learn to love myself in order to recover from chronic illness and remain healthy and happy.
I believe it is such a vital piece at the beginning of any healing journey. The wisdom in each paragraph is one thing but I love the underlying message that we only experience each of these lessons by initially learning to love and accept ourselves first.
It touches on listening to our suffering, living in the present moment, becoming more contented, becoming mindful and in-tune with ourselves and connecting with the wisdom of our heart – all very contemporary topics that science is only beginning to understand the benefits of.
“I recognised that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.”
This line hit me between the eyes! This described exactly what I had learned in order to be free from Chronic Fatigue Syndrom (CFS/ME). WhenI understood the effect that the mind has on the body and how an overactive mind drains our energy and causes fatigue this was the ‘pièce de résistance’ in my recovery. Don’t get me wrong, there was a whole lot of other work with holistic doctors, naturopaths and nutrition that went into my recovery over a long period that got me most of the way there, but to stop the crashing I HAD to change the mental and behavioural patterns that led to CFS/ME in the first place and then continued to keep it in place – that was where EFT Tapping and mindfulness practices came in.
“As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself.”
When we learn to love ourselves we find more stability and contentment within ourselves we stop looking for it outside in behaviours such as craving, whether that be for food or other distractions. When we begin to experience how it feels to be true to ourselves it provides positive feedback to continue making good decisions for our own wellbeing. Then, when we can see that the people around us are benefiting from the lighter, happier, more exuberant you, we know that making choices with our own self-care in mind is not a ‘selfish’ thing, it is actually how we can best contribute to the world around us.
I hope that you find your own wisdom in this poem….
As I began to love myself
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself I recognised that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS “LIFE” !
There is some conjecture as to whether Charlie Chaplin wrote this and delivered in a speech on his 70th birthday, or whether it came from book by Kim & Alison McMillen called “When I Loved Myself Enough”.
Take a moment to enjoy this beautiful video while listening to the words of wisdom and compassion.