Dear friend,

You were given a gift as a child.

But when you were raised by your parents, by society, and by your teachers— you had your beliefs and artistry beaten out of you.

But you have the power to change your future. The power to change your destiny. The power to believe in yourself, and to become the best version of you.

To make all the changes in your life, you need to first love yourself.

Help yourself first

The most important love is self-love. Because if you don’t love yourself; how can you love others?

Publilius Syrus once said:

Do not water the lawn of your neighbor; if your own lawn is dying of thirst.

My personal philosophy is this: if I cannot help myself first, I cannot help others.

For example, if I am living in poverty, dying of hunger and thirst— how can I help my brother and my sister? I know personally, earning money was a good thing for me. Now I can afford to give my mom money to travel, to see the world, go hiking, and to live without stress.

If I was a starving artist, how could I give away all these articles, ebooks, and videos for free?

Self-love

I was lucky enough that my mom taught me to love myself from a young age. Not only that, but my friends, my local community always empowered me to believe in myself. To love myself.

If you grew up without getting any love from nobody, I feel for you. If you grew up not getting love from your parents, from your local community, or your friends, or family — shit is tough.

I don’t have the answers, but I want to share some ideas with you:

1. Burn away your past memories

Fuck the past. Erase all your negative memories from the past, like reformatting the hard drive of your brain.

Purge. Delete. Start fresh.

I know that I have a lot of negative memories from the past, still hidden in the sectors of my mind. I have horrible memories being bullied as a kid, traumatic things which happened between my parents, feeling abandoned, and forgotten.

But the phantoms of your past aren’t real. Just put that shit into black and white, monochrome, make that memory grainy, and make a visualization. Take that negative memory, imagine it like a film reel, and throw it into the flame. Imagine like a movie theater on fire; and all your negative memories burning away.

Of course; keep the good memories. Burn the negative past.

2. Don’t ask for permission

You can live life on your own terms. You don’t need no permission from nobody.

You don’t need permission from your parents, from your partner, your kids, your friends, or your boss.

You can do whatever you want (creatively) right now.

Is your dream to be a photographer? Go out during your lunch breaks, and make photos on your smartphone. Process them in VSCO, and upload and share them with others.

Is your dream to be an author? Write the first chapter of your story on your smartphone during your commute, and upload it to your own blog. Use wordpress.com, medium.com, tumblr.com, or register your own blog via wordpress.org (I recommend bluehost.com as a host).

Is your dream to make your living your passion? Start off by making a YouTube channel, it is the best free marketing. Start your own channel, upload videos shot on your smartphone or laptop. And link back to your website.

I feel that if you are reading this, you are probably an artist. We are all artists. And an important step to self-love, is to create art that you love.

3. Don’t be so humble

You’re fucking awesome. Yeah, say that shit at the top of your lungs. Or say it in your mind.

Disregard the Christian concept of ‘humility’ — and take on the Greek/Roman notion of ‘magnanimity’ — greatness of soul.

I think it is good to be humble. But if you are so humble that you are hating yourself; that isn’t so good.

My suggestion, think about your top 3 skills, talents, or attributes. Write it down. And you don’t need to brag. But be proud of yourself.

For me, my pride includes:

  1. Blogging
  2. Photographing
  3. Teaching

I have confidence in my skills, and don’t need to prove it to anybody else.

Know that your top 3 skills is what makes you, you. And you need to share that gift with others, in a practical, tangible way.

You have all the digital tools available at your fingertips. You got Google Docs, you got Google Drive, you got YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, and Medium. Share your love, and put it out there.

4. Listen to empowering music

I think music is what makes the soul soar high; above our mortal bodies.

I grew up to hip hop music. I grew up to jazz. Thanks to my homie Justin for introducing me to good music. I grew up to Nujabes, Shin-ski, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Hieruspecs, MF Doom, Hieroglyphics, and Lupe Fiasco. I listened to music which empowered me, gave me calm and zen, and also had wholesome lyrics.

If you listen to music that propagates self-hate, women-hate, or any negativity; what do you think is going to happen to your mind and soul?

Find whatever music suits you. Find the music which helps you believe in yourself. I also recommend using the website Genius.com to discover the lyrics of the songs, to find deeper meaning.

A great song: “I” by Kendrick Lamar.

5. Love others

The best way to love yourself; share your love with others.

Call up your mom, and tell her that you love her. Call up your dad. Call up your grandparents.

Text message a friend, and share a precious memory you had with them. Send a message to your loved one, and write them a poem. Share an old photograph with a good memory.

If you see someone who looks destitute and beaten down, give them a smile, and say ‘Hello.’

Make beautiful art, and share it. Keep it open and free.

Love always,
Eric

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