Monday, May 9, 2011

Loving Yourself First

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.Lucille Ball

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Lucille Ball was a very smart woman.  She created a television empire, along with her husband, Desi Arnaz.  She provided us with love and laughter that instills pleasure in us, even today, all these years after her death.  I Love Lucy, the television show, was never supposed to happen, you know.

I think most of us know the story but, just in case, let me tell you.  Lucy and Desi had an idea-a way for them to work together instead of him travelling around the country with his orchestra and her doing movies.  They wanted to do a television show.  A show in which they played a married couple, him from Cuba, her from a little town in New York.  The network liked the idea of Lucy in a television show but they didn't want Desi to play the husband.  The idea of a mixed race couple on television at that time was unheard of.  It would never work, or so they thought.  Lucy refused to do the show without Desi so the network eventually agreed and history was made.  Even after their divorce, Lucy and Desi worked together at Desilu studios until she bought out his half of the business and  she then ran the company all by herself for years producing shows like the Andy Griffith Show, Star Trek, and Mission Impossible.  That was all Lucy!

Pretty incredible, huh?  Imagine how it all might have been different if Lucy hadn't believed in herself, hadn't loved herself.  Everything happened because she knew that she was capable and worthy of love...from her husband, from her co-workers, from her family, from her fans, and from herself.  All the success that they had, you never heard of Lucy being disrespectful to anyone.  You never heard about her being a prima dona.  She didn't have to be.  She was Lucy and she knew she was loved, first by herself and then by the world.

I've heard Lucy and Desi's kids (also Lucy and Desi, Jr) talk about how success had eventually become too much for their parents.  It all happened very quickly.  They were famous.  Everyone loved Lucy and Desi and it became too much for them.  Desi drank to excess; in fact, he credited his son for helping him eventually get sober.  Two people, the same success but entirely different outcomes.  Don't get me wrong, Desi didn't become a skid row bum or anything.  Success was just harder for him to handle.  You know, he was actually the first to try performing in front of a live audience for television and the method of using multiple cameras came from him.  He was an innovator in the television business.

So why the difference?  Desi didn't love himself until much later in life.  I heard him give an interview once (yes, I'm really showing my age here) in which he stated that it wasn't until he was "middle-aged" and quit drinking that he accepted who he was and was able to love himself.  Unfortunately, he's not alone.  Too many people have never learned just how wonderful they are.  They've never understood that they are God's unique creation--there is no one else in the universe exactly like them.  Think about that for a minute.  You have been created to be you, just as you are.  There are no flaws or failures.  Those are only in other's eyes (and who are they to judge)?  Each of us has our own unique talents and gifts.  We may not be beautiful, but we can sing.  We may not be able to sing, but we can bake the best pies ever.  We each have our own talents and we are intended to love ourselves just as we are, talents and all.

If you watch little children, they really love themselves.  It's the world that teaches them that they are different, that they are unworthy.  Parents, siblings, other children--somebody planted the idea in their head that they weren't quite good enough and that seed took root and grew.  For some, there was someone who pulled that weed out and showed them just how beautiful they were.  For others, no one ever tried or at least not successfully, to pull that weed and love them.  They've lived with it for years and years and now; it's firmly embedded in their psyche.  It will come out, but it's going to take a LOT of hard work and someone to help pull.  For Desi, it was his son. 

Now, imagine you are a child of someone who hasn't learned to love himself.  Children follow their examples.  They will listen to your words, but they will remember what you do.  It will be impossible for them to learn to love themselves, for them to have successful relationships, if their example hasn't yet been able to do it.  Desi, Jr. is an example of this.  Desi, Jr. had his own drinking problem.  The difference for Desi, Jr.?  A mother who did love herself.  It was an example he could follow.  At some point he made a choice:  to follow his father's example (which he had been) or to follow his mother's example.  He became sober and has remained so ever since. 

What if he'd not had the mother he had?  It could have had an entirely different outcome.  Desi, Jr. never judged his father.  He didn't need to; his father was judging himself to be unworthy and unlovable.  Even with all the success he had in his life, even with a wife who loved him, even with two wonderful children, he deemed himself unlovable. 

Where are you in the process of loving yourself?  Take a moment today to appreciate your uniqueness and find a reason, find several reasons, to love yourself.  As Lucy said, "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line."  If things are falling into line, maybe you need to go back to the beginning and start over.  It's a do-over; it's allowed.  Start over and love yourself.  Not in a haughty, "I'm better than everyone else" way but in a way that says, "I know me and I love me just as I am.  I may not be perfect, but I don't have to be.  That's what makes me, me." 

Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.

Byron Katie


Diane Budden said...

Oh, Ereline!!! This was just the blog I needed today! I loved Lucy and Dezi and have seen the same documentaries about them that you spoke about in your article. If we could all remember that we are each unique and talented in different ways, and just accept and love that fact of being!!! Thanks for a great blog! Diane Budden

Ereline said...

Thanks Diane! I still love to watch these two 'old friends.' They still make me laugh, but more than that, I love to watch them love each other. It was so apparent in their work.
Good lessons from these two very talented people!
Love ya!