Questioner (Q): Watched a video of yours stating that if you love yourself, only then there is more to life than the way one lives. I know that this routine life is useless and that there are other important things in life which one needs to think of. But, one should think about it only if one loves oneself or one should not. Why is it so? I’m not sure if I love myself. Sometimes I feel like I do; sometimes I feel like I don’t. I am confused, please guide.
Acharya Prashant (AP): I have understood only the last two words of your question, Apoorva. The last two words are “I’m confused.” I’ll answer only these two words. And there are two more words- “Please guide,” so that’s okay, “I’m confused, please guide,” fine. You could have just said, “I’m confused, please guide.” Why did you need to send proof of your confusion? This question is such a long proof of the confusion, there was no need to send this. Apoorva, if you don’t love yourself, why are you asking this question? You could have easily stayed confused, why are you asking this question? - Because clarity is one’s nature.
Nobody likes staying confused, that’s why you’re asking this question. Is the confusion clear now? You do love yourself.
Even when you commit suicide, you are actually just displaying your love towards yourself. You are saying, you love yourself so much, that you cannot bear to see yourself suffer.
One’s love towards oneself is inseparable from the Self. As long as there is the Self, and Self remains for quite a long while, you know. Some people say, “It is eternal.” So, as long as there is the Self, the mind would always be attracted towards the Self. The Self would continue to remain for very long; the mind--attracted to the Self--would cease to continue as it used to continue in time, before it dissolved in the Self.
There is a continuation, in time; and there is an eternity, beyond time. The mind continues in time as long as it doesn’t enter the eternity, beyond time.
Clarity is your nature.
Such a beautiful word - clarity. What does clarity mean? Clarity is actually a negative word. It means an absence of obstructing phenomena. Once the fog is gone, you say, “It is clear now.” Has something special arrived? No, nothing has arrived. Instead, something has gone away. When the clouds are gone, then you say that the sky is clear. Has the sky arrived? No, instead, something has gone away. So, clarity is actually a word denoting absence. It’s a negative word. No confusion means clarity.
Keeping confusion is not your nature, the proof is the question. You’d keep questioning; you’d keep questioning till confusions are cleared away.
You do love yourself. Now, one must also add that man is in a very special position. Man loves himself, but tries to find unique and special and specific ways to love himself. The moment you bundle or relate or hyphenate love with anything else, all you are left with is, that something else. You lose love. Please understand what I’m saying. Love is an attraction towards something. Man often decides to pay great importance to the root, the method used to obtain that thing, rather than the thing itself. Man becomes a hostage to stuff around that thing, rather than the thing itself. For example, two people fall in love and they decide to celebrate their love by watching a movie. They reach the theater and find that the movie is awful, as movies usually are, and they fight with each other. That’s how special man is. Is the movie important or love important?
AP: Love is important. The movie was an ancillary, was it not? But, because of the movie, you decided to sacrifice love itself. We forget what is central. We start placing importance on a lot of other things, and other things are just things, they are not reliable. They come and go; and when you place too much importance on other things, then love gets left behind.
You have talked of self-love. Yes, one has self-love. Now, because of self-love, a man says, “I must be successful,” or “I must be great.” And that’s what everybody says, “I must be successful or great.” Because of self-love, you say you should be successful-great, and then a point comes when you start saying that “I will love myself, only if I am successful or great.” Now, what has happened? You see, how did you begin? You said, “I must be successful because I love myself.” At this point what comes first, love or success?
AP: At this point love comes first. So, because you love yourself, you say, “I love myself so much that I want to be successful;” and then you don’t even realize how after a while your position changes, the priority inverts and now you are saying, “If I am successful, then I will love myself.” “Only if I am successful, will I love myself.” Now success has become the center and love has been relegated to the periphery.
So, I’m saying one must be cautious. Self-love is necessarily, always present; but self-love can get diluted, corrupted.
Because of self-love, self-love can get diluted. Because you love yourself, you want to be successful; and you want to be so desperately successful that you say, “I love myself, only if I am successful.” So, because of self-love, self-love got diluted, corrupted. That can happen, you must remain cautious.