Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

I just finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” by Kamal Ravikant. I have to say that this slim volume completely jumpstarted a whole new spiritual practice for me. I don’t usually rave (in print, at least) and, frankly, having written dozens of reviews many of these self-help genre books tend to blur together after awhile, but this is one of the most accessible, transformative books I have ever read — and at 57 pages, you’d have to be in a coma not to get through it. Actually, if you are in a coma I will come and sit by your side and read it to you, because I want “Love Yourself” to be the earworm that gets stuck in your head. You’ll thank me later.

Think about it: it’s very easy to say love yourself, and we all know we’re supposed to do it, but in reality it’s very hard for most people. Dig just a little bit beneath the surface most of us present to the world and you’ll strike a vein of negative self-talk, doubts and insecurities to the point where we can’t even recollect what loving ourselves feels like anymore. How many successful, seemingly confident people are really driven by the thought, “I’m not good enough?” How many of us settle for second best in a job or relationship thinking, “I’m not worthy of love?” Or jump from one relationship to another because we’re afraid to be alone, thinking, “No one will love me.”

The answer is almost everybody, and the ways by which we undermine ourselves are numerous. And in case feeling anxious, insecure or driven isn’t bad enough, on top of that there is a growing body of research showing how these thoughts act as stressors that weaken or compromise the immune system and contribute to disease and poor health. The author, Kamal Ravikant, had driven himself to the point of exhaustion and illness when he first had the thought that something had to change, and then went about doing it. “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” is his account of coming back from that point, and what exactly he did to turn his life around.

I’ll confess that when I started this book I thought, “Well, ok, I pretty much like myself, at least — sure, I need to lose some weight and I’ve just about broken my bootstraps from pulling myself back up by them, but all in all….” Then as I read on, the voice in the back of my head changed to, “YOU HAD ONE JOB….” Meaning, I was supposed to have been loving myself all along and clearly, based on the whole “phoenix from the ashes” gestalt of the last year, hadn’t been doing a very good job of it for quite some time. So maybe, for some of us, it takes being faced with how truly horrible things can get when you don’t love yourself, to start doing it ” …Like Your Life Depends on It.”

by Cheryl Shainmark
Cheryl Shainmark is a freelance writer and editor living in Westchester, New York. A long time contributor of articles and book reviews, Cheryl is now a senior editor and a regular columnist at Merlian News. When she is not reading, reviewing, or dreaming about books she can be found playing with cats of all stripes at her quiet country retreat.