The following poem is attributed to Charlie Chaplin. Supposedly, he recited it on his 70th birthday but that has never been confirmed.
In fact, it’s from a little book by Kim and Alison McMillen, a collection of wisdom that is startling in its simplicity.
Anyway, beside the speculation about the author of this beautiful poem, there is so much wisdom and truth in it. In the book, there’s a very personal introduction which explains wonderfully that loving yourself holds the key to loving others and having others love you.
For many years I lived with a guarded heart. I did not know how to extend love and compassion to myself. In my fortieth year that began changing.
As I grew to love all of who I am, life started changing in beautiful and mysterious ways. My heart softened and I began to see through very different eyes.
My commitment to follow this calling grew strong and in the process a divine intelligence came to guide my life. I believe this ever-present resource is grace, and is available to us all.
For the past twelve years I have been learning to recognize and accept this gift. Cultivating love and compassion for myself made it possible.
– Alison McMillen
When I loved myself enough
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!