In this podcast (episode #465) and blog, I talk to Kanwer Singh, also known as Humble The Poet, about what most of us are doing wrong when it comes to love, what it means to sit with your pain and experience love, the difference between self-care and self-love, and so much more!
Humble The Poet is a Toronto-bred MC/Spoken word artist with an aura that embodies the diversity and resiliency of one of the world’s most unique cities. With tattoos, beard, head wrap and a silly smile, Humble commands attention. He stimulates audiences with ideas that challenge conventional wisdom and go against the grain, and his dynamic live sets shake conventions and minds at the same time. He has also performed at concerts and festivals, including Lollapalooza, and has been featured in major media, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Vogue, Rolling Stone, and Huffington Post.
In his amazing new book How to Be Love(d): Simple Truths for Going Easier on Yourself, Embracing Imperfection & Loving Your Way to a Better Life, Humble the Poet talks about love: what it means to both give love and how to be loved. As he notes in the book: “We all want love. Everything we do is in pursuit of it. But as we count likes on social media and measure our worth by the numbers in our bank accounts, we are programmed to see love as something to earn or win. That programming obscures the simple truth that we ourselves are beautiful, infinite, eternal sources of love. Instead of seeking to be loved by the world, we must be love.” With short chapters filled with insight, advice, and personal anecdotes from Humble’s own journey, this book is a guide to self-love that helps clarify your path inward toward the inherent love and value that is within each of us. It will help you throw away old ideas that prevent you from realizing the love you’ve always had within you.
So many versions of “love” that we pursue are quick, cheap and convenient, like success or money or fame, but they do not satisfy our desire for love and to be loved on a deeper level. Like fast food, these versions of love can be delicious, but they are not nutritious, and they can prevent us from truly pursuing love on a deeper level - that is, learning how to be love.
This kind of love requires deep vulnerability. We cannot build up a mental and emotional fortress around ourselves to keep out the pain and still expect to experience love and become love. This is less about earning, achieving, or making love than clearing a pathway for love to flow into and through our lives. It is about making ourselves available and open to access this love. It involves:
- Prioritizing our self-respect over being likable (our self-esteem). This affects our ability to set boundaries, stand up for ourselves and be our authentic self.
- Identifying what society is and how it is affecting us. Today, society is more than just a collection of people; it is a big economic engine that rewards contribution, which can make us focus on working hard, being productive, buying things, making money and so on, to the detriment of developing our sense of self-love and loving others.
This deeper sense of love is different to self-care, a popular topic these days. Self-love includes self-care, but not all self-care includes self-love. It is easy to get stuck thinking that we need a new product or thing to make us happy or express self-love, whether that is a makeover, spa day or something else. Although these things can be great, they may not necessarily act as a form of self-love if they do not include a sense of service and peace, which define deep, lasting love. They may even make us feel, look or seem better than we feel internally, masking the deeper work we have to do to be love(d). As Humble the Poet points out, self-care is not self-love when it means that we are doing things not to feel good but rather to feel less bad.
Self-care may even make us feel like we need to reach some level of perfection to be loved, which is not true. Authentic, real love requires vulnerability, which means admitting that we and those we love are not perfect. Real love doesn’t require qualifications or “enoughness”. It doesn’t mean avoiding our pain or mistakes, but rather working through them to develop our sense of self-love and our love for others. Working through our pain helps us develop a sense of peace that defines true, authentic love. This is not always easy or simple, but it is worth it—like going to the gym, sometimes self-love means doing difficult things and working hard to grow and learn.
For more on self-love, listen to my podcast with Humble the Poet (episode #465) and check out his amazing work. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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1:30 Humble the Poet’s amazing new book on love
2:40 Humble the Poet’s life & work
11:00 What love is
13:50 Different versions of love
14:50 Vulnerability is not a weakness
16:22 What we are doing wrong when it comes to love
18:30 How the world has changed & how this affects our perception of love
23:40 The difference between self-care & self-love
35:36 Why we need to sit with our pain to experience love
43:20 Loving others means loving yourself
44:10 Real love is not easy, but it is worth it!
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