Let's be honest and admit that at the center of our existence lies one person: Number One. We're taught to curb #1: parents and teachers insist that #1 take second place to others, that #1 learn a little self-hatred, take joy in self-punishment, aspire to self-abasement. Nonsense!
In the end, I can only count on myself.
You, too, can only count on yourself. You thought the president was going to take care of those night terrors? You expected Mommy to come hug you through the unemployment line? Ha!
What's more, I can't divorce myself. I'm stuck with me through thick and thin.
That's the via negativa to self love. We can turn it around.
You see, I can make myself better as no one else can. You, too, can grow and enhance yourself in ways no one else can match.
Start thinking small. I can wake up hungry and feed myself. I can be dirty and wash myself clean.
That's quite a lot! I am, as a person with disability told me some time ago, temporarily able-bodied; one day I may be bed-ridden and incontinent. For the moment, I can do for myself everything that my mother once did for me when I was a newborn -- and then some. I can probably do all this with greater precision than anyone else, since I know exactly what I like and want, what will make me feel good.
In the Republic of Me, I am the people and the representatives. I am the sovereign and liege in my own kingdom.
In my inner conflicts (dialectics, anyone?) I aim, for my labor and management, my male and female (yes, Virginia, there's also a guy lurking inside you), the boss and the bossed, to make things better in the end. My inner selves live in covenant with one another and we have the potential to be at peace.
We are a prosperous happy little realm, I, me, and myself. At heart we are delighted to greet ourselves in the mirror. That wonderful familiar face.
Is it too fat, wrinkled, sebaceous, sallow? We can choose better food, use better makeup, or simply choose to ignore it.
I have that power. I can love myself.
Oh, sure, there comes the moment or three in which we see that movie star on a magazine cover, that actor or actress on TV, that politician, that carefully groomed author on a dust-jacket ... and, for that moment, the worms of envy and hatred drive us into a rage at the gall of those daring to upstage the star of our lives, so easily, so totally!
Our looks seem so ... I don't know, lacking. No wonder I didn't get to be the Paris correspondent for The New York Times and marry a blonde Nobel-prize winnning novelist! I don't look right.
But that's totally wrong! In the Dominion of Me, Myself & I (note the ampersand in the august title) those terms and rules have no jurisdiction, no claim, no extraterritoriality.
In the personal channels of my brain, Entertainment Today (or whatever those shows are called) features the perennial celebrity: me. My Academy of Language accords me its highest honor every year. To ourselves, we are, as the Beatles claimed, more famous than Jesus.
We have so much that we overflow to others. Of course, we're in love ...!