I found this blog post that I wrote on February 27, 2015, that was inspired by words William Shatner spoke in tribute to his good friend Leonard Nimoy, who had died that day. I put the piece, in draft form, on the 'back burner' for the night, and then, like many of you, came down with that horrendous flu that hung around for two and a half months. It's been four months since Mr. Nimoy's passing, and the inspiration I received from learning how much he loved, remains.
Leonard Nimoy died today – he was 83-years old. In reading about his passing this morning I was pleasantly surprised by the profundity of William Shatner's words of tribute. He said of his friend and colleague, "We will all miss his humor, his talent and his capacity to love."
Before today, I'd never thought of our ability to love in terms of 'capacity.' Have you? I typically thought of capacity in terms of volume – a measure of the amount that can be held or contained by something, e.g., lung capacity, or the storage capacity on our hard drives. In short, capacity equals space, and space can be measured. So when Mr. Shatner referred to his friends' "capacity to love" I wondered where this space – this capacity – 'lived' in Mr. Nimoy; and where does it 'live' in me, in each one of us? And, how is it measured?
While staring out at the gray waters of Puget Sound I turned those questions over in my mind, and then I realized that this space lives in our hearts, and our capacity to love is in direct proportion to our capacity to love ourselves! The more we love ourselves the more love there is in our hearts, the more love there is in our hearts the more love we have to give, and this translates to: the bigger our capacity is to love. This is also how we measure it.
It's a well-known fact that we cannot give what we do not have. We can try, and we all do at one time or another; however, we've all felt the resentment that can pop up when we force ourselves to give that which we do not have, be it time, money, friendship, or love.
When we fall short in the self-love department that valuable inner real estate of our heart is filled with self-sabotaging inner dialogues that harm and hurt us, and others. When we lack patience with ourselves, when we harshly criticize and judge ourselves, when we doubt our abilities and unique gifts, when we compare our looks, our weight, our talents, and our success to others, we fill our heart space with self-sabotaging recriminations, not love. Every time we re-play an old tape from childhood we hurt ourselves and often end up harboring resentments and jealousy's against family, friends and colleagues. These negative emotions directly inform our words and actions and, so it follows as night the day - when we lack patience with ourselves we have no patience for others. If we are critical of ourselves we will criticize others. When we harshly judge ourselves, we will harshly judge others, and on it goes… The little bit of self-love we might have for ourselves is valiantly trying to survive under the weight of our self-sabotaging thoughts, old tapes and actions.
I don't want to imply that self-love is easy, and all you have to do is stop being hard on yourself. That would be trite, and way too simplistic. For many of us those neural pathways of negative thinking and self-sabotage are deep, and it takes a big commitment to take on the kind of personal work that is focused on our well-being, and the development and growth of our self-awareness. But it is possible, and that is the message I want to leave with you. I can't encourage you enough to take the journey inward to re-connect with your greatest self, and to get to know the power, and the beauty, the greatness, that is you.
I have learned throughout my years of coaching that knowing who you are at your core, and loving who you are at your core, is the first place to start when wanting to make changes in your life, and achieve success. We must know ourselves to love ourselves, and, when we know who we are, and love who we are, we are then connected to the personal power that fuels us, and guides us, in making the changes, and achieving the success, our heart desires.
In closing, there's one more little thing to think about when it comes to our heart space. Having the capacity to love others is not just about being able to give love – it is also about having the space to receive love. If we are unable to graciously receive we are denying others the opportunity to give, and, most importantly, we deny ourselves the opportunity to be loved.Live Long and Prosper!