The other day I was having a chat with a survival expert.
“People ask me how much water they should take if they’re going on a serious hike. I then ask them – how much do you think? I never get the answer I’m looking for”, he said.
“What is your answer?”, I asked.
“Normally people say 2 litres? 3 litres? I tell them: no I would take 7-11 litres. 1 litre for every hour we are on the move. They’re very surprised at this response.”
“Wow, 11 litres? That’s a lot”, I replied
“I take enough for myself and for other people. What if we all run out of water? What if there are emergencies? What if you meet someone on the way who is in trouble? Everyone asks this question because they want to know the absolute minimum only they need to survive.”
I found this answer very enlightening and a great metaphor for loving ourselves and others.
You often hear the saying, ‘you need to love yourself in to order fully love other people’. In the past I used to think, ‘well, I may not love myself very much, but there are many people I love! I can still love!’.
But over the years I have realised the deep truth that underlies this statement. Any aspects that we can’t accept within ourselves, we have trouble accepting in others. In order to fully embrace – or love – the people around us, we truly have to start within ourselves.
We need to first learn to carry enough water for us, before we can start to generously share with others. What would you do if your friends and family are in need of love, but you are filled with self-hate? Would you be able to wholeheartedly support them during their time of need?
Instead, why not love yourself to the extent that you have enough to both nourish yourself and to enrich others. You would be able to freely give, without needing anything in return. Why not carry enough water for both yourself and others?
It is definitely something to strive for.