On Friday, I went to a yoga class that I had never been to before. The teacher was Thai and she spoke with such a heavy accent that I couldn’t quite make out what she was saying. But the beauty of yoga is you listen with your heart, and as I was very familiar with the sequence of yoga postures that she was teaching, I just flowed with her lovely energy without paying much heed to her words.
And then, she suddenly said, “Love yourself first. If no love inside, cannot give anyone love.”
Simple wisdom we always hear but often pay scant attention to. But hear me out. If a cup is empty, it cannot nourish anyone. You might be fortunate enough to have someone in your life who keeps pouring the tea into your broken cup, but unless you make that conscious effort to fix the leaks, the goodness that someone bestows on you is for nothing. In my life, I have spent my precious years pouring the best I had into a broken cup that could not benefit from what I put in, however much love I put in, and in the process, my own cup got broken.
The thing is, no one can mend you but you. The best my partner did was to hold the space for me when I mended myself. He provided me with the security and comfort of his arms and a safe house whilst I went home to learn to love myself again. For six months, I was at home and led a very quiet, small life. And strange as it may sound, though he was never far away from me, my partner kept an emotional distance during my period of healing, until I was whole again and came back with gratitude and love in my heart.
These are some beautiful words from Thich Nhat Hahn, whose work we discovered together when we went to Ho Chi Minh City: