I’ve been a rather proud person for as long as I can remember.
Sure, I went through my childhood insecurities and uneasy periods of self-discovery and self-esteem, but I feel lucky that I’ve always had a piece inside of me that’s full of self-love and, quite frankly, just pure friendship for—and devotion to—my own being.
Because I think that cheesy saying might be cliche but it’s definitely true: you need to love and embrace yourself before you can love others.
And love isn’t always kind or anything else that’s pretty to write about—but we should always do our best to try and make it be so.
And I don’t know about you, but for me, being kind is the most important aspect of love—including the love that we share with and express to ourselves.
At the same time, though—being a fairly prideful person—I’ve spent a portion of my life thus far playing around with ego and how easy it is to become attached to this ego.
On the one hand, we have to have some sense of ego in order to have a sense of self and self-respect. On the other, there comes a point where ego is not at all about being kind—it’s much more about being right.
And what’s the point of being right if you wind up alone or, worse, surrounded only by people who are exactly like you?
I guess for me one of the most prominent parts of my personality—besides my self-confidence and my on-and-off relationship with my ego—is my continual desire to pursue relationships with all different types of people.
I love people.
I really do.
I love having female friends, I love and appreciate men in a way that’s allowed me to have an almost 20-year relationship with one (despite being only in my early 30s). I just absolutely adore the intricacies—and the oddities—that come along with human beings.
Still, I adore myself.
Maybe you think that that sounds egotistical, but I guess I’m proud enough not to care—however, I’d disagree with you.
I do like who I am, but it’s this self-love that I feel on a deep and authentic level that, I believe at least, allows me to shine out to the world and love and embrace those around me so easily and so peacefully.
Does that mean that I don’t occasionally feel conflicted over wanting to be kind to others while wanting to also be (falsely) kind to myself by being right?
And what is being right anyways?
If you’re asking me, being right is standing firmly in the belief that your own actions and intentions are morally or physically correct even if this means stepping on other toes to declare it.
In short, sometimes—and sadly more often than not—being right is in direct conflict with being kind. (Much like our ideals don’t always match up with our realities.)
So why is being kind so important?
Well, I stated earlier that love is directly connected to kindness.
There’s an empathy and a softness that radiates and surrounds real love, no matter who that love is directed at or coming from. I don’t think you would argue that you can feel the love radiating out from some people—just like you can feel other (dare I say less desirable?) things radiating out from others.
I guess, then, if you want to choose love then you must choose kindness over righteousness. I would wager to say that it’s this overlooked imperfection that causes nearly all of our conflicts, on both a private and a more grandiose scale.
And that’s up to you (whether or not you want to choose love).
I do, however—I choose love—over and over again—I choose love.
And this is an apology to myself, because I told you also that I love myself.
It’s an apology for those times in my past when I insisted on not apologizing and it caused me unnecessary struggle and discomfort.
Because it seems to me that everyone has things in their lives that they are seemingly forced revisit, even when they don’t want to and even when they think they are avoiding it. Maybe it’s a type of person who keeps popping up or maybe it’s a repeat problem in love.
A friend once told me that when something crosses your radar more than once that you shouldn’t ignore it, and yet I’ve also repeatedly chosen something else in my life besides love and that’s ego and pride—and needing to be right.
So I’ll apologize here to myself for one other thing.
I’ll apologize and promise myself kindness and empathy if, in my future, I again wrongly choose ego and pride when I should have taken the quieter path of kindness.
And this isn’t for those of you who choose “being nice” to a place that leaves love and becomes self-neglect or harm to others by giving in when it would be best for all that you actually hadn’t. (There’s a reason why I also stated previously that ego doesn’t have to always be bad.)
No, this is for those of you who also have a strong sense of self and who sometimes forget that you have more influence than you think.
It’s for people like me who, though self-confident, are also humble—and they forget how they can affect.
And sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me? That’s total crap.
Words carry a significant amount of power, so choose them wisely (including the ones you use with yourself.)
Maybe it’s because I’m a writer and voracious reader, but words are just as impactful for me as actions—maybe even more so. I think this is why I continually resort to my tongue as my most effective dagger.
And I’m not sorry for being me—I’m not apologizing for having a strong sense of self-awareness (call this ego if you like—I guess it’s true enough that I won’t care).
Regardless, this is a love note to all of you who are reading it. It’s a love note because this is why I blog.
In truth, I write because I have no choice but, more, I write—and then share it with you—because I want to understand you—even when I don’t see eye to eye with you—and I feel that the first step that I can take towards this is by allowing you the chance to understand me.
And because I believe, in my heart of hearts, that the opposite of love isn’t hate—it’s indifference (ironically a wise friend taught me that in first grade); and I also believe that it’s much more important to be kind than it is to be right.
And what do you think?
Do you choose love too?
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” ~ Dalai Lama
Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?
Ed: Bryonie Wise
hot on elephant
The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. These People are Rare Gems—Keep Them, Fight for Them, don’t Give Up on Them. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? Jon Stewart makes first appearance since retiring—”it’s not your country.” Waylon shares 10 transformingly beautiful Quotes about Love. 40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years. Dear Woman in the White Car at Margaritas Mexican Grill in West Memphis, Arkansas on July 15th, 2012. When your Heart is Wounded, I will Hold your Hand. Hot Love with a Leo.