The best gifts: True love and kindness

The best gifts: True love and kindness

Many people are afraid to love themselves, believing it to be selfish or indulgent in some way

Many people are afraid to love themselves, believing it to be selfish or indulgent in some way. But to practise compassion to others, you first have to know how to love yourself.

I'm not talking about feeding your ego but about contemplating your life and your motivations and appreciating just how precious life is.

Once you know yourself then you know that everybody else has exactly the same feelings and this understanding gives you good reason to be compassionate to others.

If you understand how to improve your own life, then you know how to take care of others. This is a very creative and positive thing to do; I like to call it devotion.

You may become a nice and devotional person, but if you don't know how to truly love yourself, you naturally won't know how to love others also.

What is love, truly? When we understand and feel love, then life is colourful. It is easy to think of love as something which is more about the ego than the true essence of love.

It is easy to interpret love as lust, desire and wanting, but really, love is understanding.

If you have understanding and compassion towards a person, then you will act to help them or be kind to them, unconditionally and genuinely.

All of us know deep down how to recognise love because we've experienced it before, perhaps not even in this life, but at some point.

Think about a moment of love in your life that was completely unselfish, either shown to you or that you gave to another. Bring that memory up along with the feelings, the warmth.

Opening yourself up to these feelings of unconditional love will, in turn, make you receptive to experiencing more of them in your day-to-day life.

To benefit others, you have to have something to share. So, first of all you must be happy — then you can share happiness. This is what love is.

Love is something to share; the practice of love is to share, to give. And through developing your compassion, you get a tremendous amount of happiness that you can then share.

So, smile, be kind and thoughtful. These need to come from the heart and the heart has to be happy. If you are happy, you automatically smile and laugh, there is no fooling.

You are automatically kind and thoughtful if you are happy. You are sharing your smile; you are sharing your glow….

All beneficial activities come from compassion; it is fundamental. Then on top of that we can build the notion of love, the notion of kindness, everything.

Compassion is how the universe works, how people work, how your friendships work. To understand compassion, you must first show all of these things to yourself….

If you can discover what it truly means to be you, then you will be happy to be by yourself. That sense of understanding will give you happiness and a foundation upon which you can build genuine love and kindness.

It will give you freedom that you can then give to others, one of the best gifts of all.

Gyalwang Drukpa

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