The only thing that matters
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is your relationships: the relationship with yourself, with your family and loved ones, with friends, with customers, with prospects, with strangers. Relationships. And it all starts with your relationship with yourself.
The only way you can have a good relationship with anyone is by being authentic, by being real, by being your true self. Authenticity has gotten get bad rap recently. It’s had some pushback, and I want to push back on that pushback.
Yes, there is a truth inside. I couldn’t feel that for most of my life. I didn’t know what that was—I didn’t have access to it because it was cut off from my emotions.
Your emotions are what tell you the truth about yourself. But most of us spend most of our lives numbing out with Netflix, alcohol, sugar, fat, work, sex, exercise— whatever it is. We numb out so we don’t have to feel. And we have all these bottled up emotions inside of us that prevent us from feeling what’s actually going on right now. We’re feeling all kinds of things from the past, instead of feeling what’s actually happening right now.
Authenticity is real. You can feel when someone’s authentic. I bet you’ve had that experience of talking to someone, and they’re just yapping off their sales talk, or just being so polite that you want to shake them, you’re like, “Come on, just be present with me, be here with me!” Right? But they’re just in their heads yapping off stuff.
There is a reality to being present, to being real—being real with what’s inside, and revealing that on the outside. That creates connection. That creates true connection. And it starts with the relationship with yourself.
What I want you to do right now is pull out your phone and turn the camera on and put it facing you. Then I want you to look into your own eyes on that phone screen and tell that person you see—tell yourself—that you love them.
So it goes like this. You look into your own eyes and on the phone, and you say, “I love you” and then your name. Make sure you have eye contact. It can be hard on a phone. You can use a mirror, too, if you have one. And then you say: “I love you, Calvin.” “I love you, Betty.” “I love you, Pete.” “I love you, Doris.” “I love you, Casey.” “I love you, Nomi.” Whatever it is. It’s “I love you” and then your name.
Notice how that feels. What comes up for you? Does that feel just great, or does it feel a little icky, like you’re not allowed to say that, you’re not allowed to feel that way, or you’re not worthy of that love? Notice what comes up for you. Because this relationship is the core relationship, the foundation of everything else in your life. We need to get to the root of that, or nothing else that we’re going to do is going to matter.
Does that make sense? Are you with me? Do you feel it? What did you feel there?
Here’s where you can go one step further. When you look into your eyes, I want you to look for yourself at five years old or seven or three—somewhere around that range. Whatever feels natural to you. I want you to picture that little boy or little girl and tell them that you love them. “I love you, little Calvin.”
My name at that age was Lars, so I might say, “I love you, Lars.” Back then, I was speaking Danish, so maybe I’ll say, “Jeg elsker dig, Lars.” And I can access different layers of my psyche that way.
Just keep looking to your eyes and saying that, and notice everything that comes up. Find the place inside where that is true for you. Because it is. At the core of your being, you are love. When you look at yourself in the mirror, all you see is love, and when you look at someone else, all you see, all you feel, is love. That’s the core of your being. All the other stuff is learned behavior. A baby doesn’t come out of the womb hating themselves. We have to be taught self-hate.
Look at that little boy or girl in your eyes and tell them you love them. Notice all the resistance that comes up. This is the foundation of your business. This is the foundation of your life.
In business, this is the foundation of you finding the right customers for you.
When you operate from a place of being filled up with your own love, you don’t need to seek love or fulfillment. You don’t need to seek it in money or fame or your business. You don’t need your business to fulfill all kinds of things for you that it’s not designed to fulfill.
When we stop seeking love from the outside—whether it’s from a business, customers, strangers, fame, spouses, kids, parents, whatever—and we realize that we are the producer of love, that’s when things shift. You are perfect. You are where love comes from. You’re this overflowing generator of love, and you have plenty of love to go around to give everybody. You don’t need anyone to give you love because you are love. At the core of your being, that’s what you are. That’s who you are.
I’ll never forget the moment I learned this. I always felt so unworthy—so unworthy, because I felt so unsuccessful. Just never good enough. And I kept looking for things that would solve this—you know, make more money, be more successful, be more famous, move to America, get a beautiful young woman as my girlfriend, someone who wants to move to America with me, get my dream car.
I had all of these things. I was in San Diego with Nomi in my beautiful BMW Z4, going to a Bikram yoga class, and I felt like a fraud. I felt miserable. I felt completely unsatisfied and scared and lonely. Lonely, even though I was with Nomi. I felt alone in the world in a big way. Like the rug could be pulled from under me at any time. Yeah, I looked like a million dollars from the outside. But inside, I felt so unworthy. And it was at this moment that it all changed for me.
So we got to the Bikram studio, I got changed, and I was ready a little early, so I went to the steam room to wait for a bit before class. And at that moment, it was like the clouds parted, the steam parted, and revealed the truth.
I felt how love was all around me. Love was in the air, in the steam, in the tiles, in the surfaces I was sitting on, in the walls. Love was literally everywhere.
And I realized it was me. I was the one who had a rule that said, “No love may enter here.” I was the one who was busy keeping love away. And the reality was that I was bathing in a sea of love, always had been. It was like a complete reality shift, and I could really feel that that was true. It’s still true to this day. If you’re not feeling completely surrounded by love, know that you actually are surrounded by love but that you’re resisting it.
What I found was that the story in my head was that I’m not worthy of love because I’m not good enough, I’m not successful enough, I’m not skinny enough, I’m not enough of whatever it is. I thought that if I were to let love in, I would stop striving to be those things. If I were to allow love to come into my being, into my heart, then I would no longer work so hard to be a better person. I would just, I don’t know, collapse or something, I would just lean back and be like, “I’m pretty great. It’s pretty great. Now I’m feeling love. I don’t need to do anything.” And if I did that, my mind went, then I would never become worthy of love.
Which is absurd, obviously. If there’s love all around, I can just take it in, and clearly, I’m worthy of it. It’s there, right? Duh. So I must be worthy of it. But no. In my mind, I was like, “Nope, I’m not worthy of it. And the only way that I can become worthy of it is by resisting all love” so that I would keep working to become worthy of love.
It’s insane, guys. It’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy. But that was my reality. And that moment shifted everything for me, because that’s when became able to take love in. It was in small doses to begin with, but then it became more and more over time.
This really is the foundation of everything in life—your ability, your willingness to receive love and, most importantly, your willingness to love yourself. You are the source of love. That’s where everything starts—with love.