There’s an episode of the show Louie (by Louie C.K. and modeled after his life) where Louie gets saddled with another woman’s son for several hours over the loud protests of Louie’s daughter, Lily. After this kid, Never, pushes a stroller into moving traffic, eats a bowl of raw meat, throws Louie’s rug out the living room window and does unspeakable things in his bathtub, the two sit side-by-side on the couch.
Never: Lily doesn’t like me.
Louie: No. No, she doesn’t.
Never: Why doesn’t Lily like me?
Louie: Because you eat raw meat and you shit in the tub and you wreck everything. And as long as you act like that, no one’s gonna like you, no one’s gonna want to be around you.
Never: My mom says any choice I make is okay as long as I love myself.
Louie: Your mom… your mom is wrong, kid.
Never: I’m going to tell her you said that.
Louie: Yes. Tell her. Please do. I’ll take that heat.
I know; I watch too much TV.
I don’t know when the concept of “loving yourself” became a fad but it makes no sense at all. The definition of love is caring about the happiness of another person without wanting anything for yourself in return. So I’m supposed to care about myself without wanting anything from myself in return…?
This is insane. Only in this self-absorbed day and age would we think that love is something we can just give to ourselves. It’s like telling a three week old baby to just feed itself. The breast, man. I need the breast. Give me the breast and I will happily feed. It’s a convenient idea, circumventing any need for vulnerability or intimacy, but it simply doesn’t work.
In order to really absorb love we have to accept the fact that we are NOT self-sufficient. If human beings were designed to be self-sufficient, do you think we would really walk around with own feces strapped to our backsides for two or three years? Just think about it.
We need one another.
To clarify, I fully believe in being compassionate and forgiving with oneself, but that is very different than love. If all we need is to love ourselves, the natural extension of that is ending up in a crazy, isolated world like Never’s where there is no right or wrong, up or down. No, we need from someone else– anyone else, not a specific person– and if we really want to be happy, we have to pass on that love, continue and extend that divine flow.
The laws of happiness are as clear and immutable as the laws of physics and if we try to pretend they are different than they are, we end up confused and alone.