Do you believe that your circumstances –present or past– are responsible for your capacity to access happiness in your life? Think again.
Jimmy Hayes was raised in an orphanage in Brazil where he was beat up, sexually abused, cut up with scissors, paralyzed from Polio for 1,5 years, yet today he speaks of love, hope, respect, connection, Spirit, trust, freedom and forgiveness.
I first met Jimmy Hayes through my philanthropic work with the “at risk youth” in Marin at Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity (AHO) www.AHOproject.org. I instantly knew that he had a story to tell and that I would help him put it out there. I had no idea just how true this was until I sat down with him for an interview on the grass of a baseball field in Fairfax California where he now lives.
This interview is stunning, touching, deep, and I trust that it will light up a fire inside you that will nudge you toward living your dreams now…
Interview with Jimmy Hayes, June 1, 2012
JH: So my name is James Antonio Hayes, I was born Antanor Diaz Camara Jr. in Brazil, Santos Sao Paulo. I was born in an orphanage, well actually I was born in a one-room shack in Santos to Barbara and Antanor, and that’s pretty much where my life started going downhill cause my mom and dad they couldn’t afford me and so they took me to the orphanage, my mom did in Guaratingueta and she tried to put me in the orphanage but she didn’t have the heart, so then 6 months later she came back and she put me there. She thought it was going to be a good place for me, but the lady at the orphanage was sort of hell to live with.
She was really mean and really negative, she would hit and beat kids with the buckle of the belt across their faces and their bodies. She would humiliate you by making you take showers outside all lined up in a row and spray you down with the hose like you were sort of some kind of animal. She would just do a lot of things that were just you know ... she cut me with scissors, through my mouth with scissors, and uh, the pain and the agony of that, I still remember it today because it just frightens me, it just frightens me and um…then when I was 5, I got paralyzed somehow, I was paralyzed and I couldn’t walk. The doctors said it was polio, they were all different about it, some said it was a mental breakdown but…I couldn’t walk for a year and a half and I had to sit in the polio ward with all these other kids that were dying, and they wouldn’t tell us that we were dying like we would say, ‘Where’d David go?’ and they would say ‘Oh, he went home,’ but we all knew he really didn’t go home. So, it gave me a sort of a connection to my mortality, to realize that you know what, I’m gonna die soon, and to be comfortable with that at 5 or 6 years old was, now I see was sort of a feat, or some kind of ability to be able to adapt. By the way, one day I was really really bored and I was watching these kids play outside, and they were playing soccer and I got really jealous and decided to like, get upset and try to get up! And I kept trying to get up and trying to get up for at least an hour and finally, wouldn’t you know it, I got up! And I stood up and this nurse who had been there, since I got there she had been there, and she saw me and I was paralyzed and I couldn’t walk – she walked in and she screamed her head off and she was like, ‘it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle!’ so I think that would be the official diagnosis of me getting over polio. I think that, because they gave me the polio shot that had something to do with it but, Brazil’s 99% Catholic and so we firmly believe that something had to do with it.
After that, I was put into this foster home with this mom and dad who, the dad was great and the mom was a little crazy and her sons would shoot me with the BB gun, they’d put spitballs inside the BB gun and pump up the BB gun and shoot me. So I didn’t really like that but I’d go to school all the time and I loved learning, and then one day, this was a foster home, one day it was raining and she told me to walk home if it was raining because she didn’t want to come pick me up. And so it was raining and when I got home, she gave me a good sound beating for walking home and worrying her. So needless to say she gave me back to the orphanage after that, and then I was back in the orphanage, where the lady at the orphanage was sort of ridiculing people and calling them (word?), which is sort of a derogatory name for a male’s genital, and just pretty much being oppressive. When I was 8, she told me that I was going to get adopted, and then when finally I got my whole bag of stuff together, she told me, ‘nobody would adopt you!’, and so, I apologize but when I was 8 also she stabbed me in the mouth with scissors, right here and right here, and I still have scar tissue, in the corners of my mouth and through my mouth. And then, instead of pulling it out, she just yanked it out so that it cut the corners of my mouth out, like that. Then she put gauze and cut a hole in it, and I drank yogurt for a while after that…She put a hole in the gauze so I could suck through a straw. And that was that, and then I just stayed to myself. And then when I was 9 ½, my parents came to adopt me, and I had told the family that, when I was 8 a year earlier, that I really needed a family because I was going to be 9 years old and when I got too old they were going to put me out, because nobody wants to adopt a 9 year old. So I told this family that they were going to put me out of the orphanage, that …I would sort of age out of the system. So after that, this Quaker family, who adopted my friend there in the orphanage, he went to the United States, Gilroy, and told the parents in the United States to adopt me. And so… they came here, and they saw me and they adopted me. And then I went to the United States, and it would seem that it was a happy story, but 4 or 5 years later they put me in a group home, which is like an orphanage. And uh…
FL: Why did they do that?
JH: We just didn’t get along, I guess they said I had too much issues for them, so they didn’t want to deal with it, so they put me in a group home here in San Anselmo, in Marin. And uh, they only came and visited me twice, out of 4 years, so pretty much I was raised in the group home system. But I thank them for getting me out of Brazil, I totally thank them for that, so I’m not upset. When I was in the group home I did the best, I did the best, like I got the platinum, I graduated with honors at their school, I did really well. But then when I aged out…when I was 18, I had worked and I had saved money, so I moved to Santa Rosa. When I moved to Santa Rosa everything was great, but being in the group home I wasn’t given all the tools – it was like, I was given a house without the tools. Or I was given a house and the tools, but not any way of knowing how to fix –
FL: Not the manual.
JH: Yeah, the manual, yeah it came without the manual, exactly! (laughs)
And so, I’m over here trying to figure out how to best show them that, hey, you know what look, I graduated and I did well, I was exactly who you thought I was. (long pause) But, when it came time for my roommate to move out, I didn’t know what to do. Like I didn’t, I didn’t prepare, I didn’t have the readiness, I didn’t have the understanding of like ‘oh, I’m going to do this.’ And so, when my roommate moved out, I was stuck not knowing what to do, not knowing how to really navigate rental agreements and applications or how to get my deposit back or anything like that. I was unaware, ignorant if you may. And so ever since then I’ve really kind of challenged myself to really know a lot of the things that I’m facing, so that I’m not caught ignorant again. So I went sort of homeless up there in Santa Rosa, then I moved to Geyserville with Mark Vanoni, this beautiful family he’s a sheriff up there in Sonoma, great guy, and he let me stay there quite a while and was really really helpful, really meant a lot to me. And then I moved to Novato where, the group home that I went to, they had a house in Novato that they were, that they had rented out, and they were going to use it for transitional housing, they were going to use it as a transitional house for people who are getting out of the system, who are trying to live amongst everybody else and learn how to live and learn how to pay rent, learn how to do all the stuff that I didn’t realize how to do, you know? And so I did that, and that’s where I met Zara. That’s where I met Zara Babinsky, she was in charge of the house and she would come all the time and meet with us, and I feel that we all did really well there, and after two years was up, then it was time to go. But they were closing it anyways, so after they were closing it Zara asked me if I wanted to join her and I said ‘of course,’ so … at 23, at 23 Zara was in my life and she was actually at the hospital when my son was born, and she held my son Hendrix Marquis Antanor Hayes. She’s just been like a grandmother to me, and Laura Taylor’s really been a big huge person in my life too. Laura Taylor was the ‘cottage manager’ at the group home…at Sunny Hills, that was when they were residential, now they’re not. But it was amazing, it was awesome, I loved it - Laura really changed my life. She helped me - when I got there I was a bitter little man…[but there] ever day we had therapy, it was a perfect place for me. It was the perfect place for me, and I just enjoyed it…that’s where – I don’t know, after my son was born I realized, I was like you know what? I can’t be a victim, I can’t be this person who’s just floating in the wind, I can’t just say ‘oh, life happens to me.’ You know what, life happens to everybody, and so – you know I was worried my whole life about being a product of my environment, being ‘oh, you’re supposed to be this guy’, and so you know, ‘keep an eye on him,’ and so I was worried about that. But then you know what, I decided to really – I decided to break all the ideas – to go against everything that they thought I was supposed to do. To be different – like, ‘the buck stops here.’ All the negativity that happened to me? The buck stops here. You know why? I’m human enough. I don’t know, something clicked inside, like there’s a difference between being a man with testicles and being a hu-man, and that’s what I needed to do, I needed to realize that – you know what, life happens to everybody and I’m not a victim, it’s about how I take control of myself. You can’t have control over your environment, you can’t have control over what happens, you can control yourself and how you react to these certain things, and how you behave towards certain problems and situations that come up, you know? And challenges. I realized this and so at 23 I thought I knew, like ‘oh, I know, and I’m excited!’ And then I realized that it’s not just about knowing, it’s about practicing it! It’s about putting it into practice – when you constantly practice these thoughts and you breathe in and you breathe out, breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, circular breathing – when you realize that – I had to realize that I’m not ‘right’, there’s many perspectives, there’s many different ways of going about things.
The more I realized that the more I was able to really just channel it down into like, oh okay you know what this is what I need to do. You know, ‘this is what I need to do with myself’ – but still I have a hard time – but I feel that now the ball’s in my court and I feel more in control now, now that I know all these things and I’ve been through all these trials and tribulations. I don’t feel beaten – I feel more like a sword that’s been put through the fire, and then afterwards it becomes all sharp…
FL: So, you’ve gone through horrors that I can’t imagine – you grew up without, without any love. How is it that you today are this beautiful soul, beautiful man? Of course you have your challenges, but you’re really positive, and you have a good energy. It’s so hard for me to imagine – how did you come up with, or have any trust in the goodness of people and embody that goodness yourself after going through so much hatred and violence?
JH: Because of the fact that, as I said, the buck stops here. If I want to see change, I have to do it myself.
FL: How did you find that out?
JH: Because I realized that I wanted to be happy. And so…I thought I had to control everything in order to be happy. But once I let go of the control, and I realized that I had to control myself, and be in control of myself, then I was able to actually derive happiness and be able to prioritize and realize like hey – if I have expectations, I’m going to disappoint myself. But if I don’t have any expectations and I just deal with life – it’s not about not planning for the future, but it’s like – there’s a fire burning inside of me and I just feel it and I’m like [pause] – I just want to channel it – I don’t want to be a statistic. I don’t want to be a statistic. I don’t want to be another number, like ‘yep, see just like we said.’ I don’t want to be that guy and so that really forced me, I don’t even want to say forced me, but that really fired me up to say ‘you know what? I’m going to be different.’
FL: Yeah. Would you say that – some people have had such average lives in a way; very little drama. Would you say that because of the harshness of your environment, that you really got the contrast that really forced you to awaken or to tap into resources that you probably would never have known you had if you hadn’t gone through that kind of set of intense experiences?
JH: Oh yeah, I very much believe that. I believe that it tested me so much, to the point where it was either break it, or make it. And maybe it was something inside of me that said, ‘make it’, but – I just know that, when I make it, I’ll be able to help other people make it too. You know I feel that, not as in physically, but as in they’ll see me do it and go ‘oh, if he can do it, I can do it.’ Yeah, I firmly believe that having tough things happen to you tests your mettle, it tests your soul it tests your whole body because you can choose to break down, but the human body’s so resilient, the human mind’s so resilient…
FL: Yeah, that’s a thought that I had on my way to meet you today, I was like, just dumbfounded at how much resilience a human being can have.
JH: Yeah! Yeah, and there’s people who’ve gone through worse than me! That’s why I don’t compare, because we all suffer in our own ways, you know? And we all have things that we need to work on. And so as long as I don’t compare and as long as I work on what I need to work on, I’m not only filling in that piece of the puzzle that’s missing, but I’m also fulfilling myself in my opinion.
FL: Yeah. What would you say to someone who is going through very, very hard times – I’m thinking of people who just found out they’ve got cancer or someone who got raped, someone who’s really having it dealt really heavy to them? What’s a piece of advice, or what would you tell one of those people? Maybe someone who might have a hard time even hearing this stuff?
JH: Well, I myself, I’ve been molested. And so I’m coming from somewhere where, I personally understand, and I’m saying that … [pause] I would just tell them that they’re not alone, and that they need to realize that this is not their fault, and that life tests – life tests, and … [pause] sometimes things happen to us so that we can help others! Sometimes things don’t just happen only to us, we’re all connected! You know? No matter what the severity of the situation, sometimes we are the catalyst. Sometimes that’s the thing that drives us to be that symbol of change, for other people. Like, you’d be surprised how many people become all of a sudden aware of molestation when there’s a ‘Walk for Molestation’, or a ‘Cancer Walk’ where all these people who are survivors come and … you’re not alone. You’re not alone, you need to get in a group, and not any structured group, you just need one person, period! Or someone, to communicate with, because you need to understand that you’re not alone and you need to understand that there’s other people going through life just like you also.
FL: Do you believe that – you know you said, I’m not a victim, we’re not victims – even though some people would say ‘well yes, you are a victim!’ Can you say more?
JH: Well, what I say is okay, my persona, who I am is not a victim – I’m a survivor. And I’m not even a survivor, I’m a normal human, because I didn’t choose to live through this – a victim gives power to their predator – that’s what I’m not. I’m not an energy source that a predator can suck energy out of – no thank you. No thank you – I forgive them, I forgive them I have no anger, nothing toward them because you know why? Because they taught me, the kind of person that I am, the kind of resilience that I have – and that’s what I mean by ‘I am not a victim.’ Yeah, I understand – being a victim’s like a moment – but then, it’s up to a person who had been victimized to gain themselves up and be like, ‘you know what? I’m going to do something about this, I’m going to either accept this or grow from this or do something positive about this.’ Because there’s something powerful about taking back your power. There’s something powerful about –
FL: The choice.
JH: Yeah! About choice, yeah.
FL: Yeah. So would you encourage people that see themselves as victims and that might think that they can never heal, that they’re broken forever – would you encourage them to try to make that choice?
JH: I would encourage them to do many choices. And the main choice to me, would be: open up.
FL: Open up to what?
JH: Open up to life, to the idea that there might be people out there who really actually care. And are caring, and they’re not pitying you and they’re there because they also need support from you – you know? Like as if we’re all cogs in a machine – like if you’re not there, then the machine is not going to spin right, you know? But if you put yourself in there then boom, now it runs smoothly, and now other people are also getting support from you. It’s not just for you a pity party, it’s you getting support and giving support. So yeah, I would totally say, make that choice! I would say, ‘what do you got to lose?’ If you’re already broken, what do you got to lose? Nothing else! You’re only going to be in the same place where you were before, so why not? You know? If it’s fear then admit it, we’re all afraid, but isn’t it thrilling to be able to try something new, you don’t have to put hope in it, just do it and see what happens!
FL: Just do it and see what happens.
JH: Yeah! That’s my opinion.
FL: That’s great, I love it. So, just to sum it up, something that was really poignant for me was where you said that, those horrible experiences actually were probably a catalyst to awaken that fire in you, and really make you aware of the resources that were in there, that might not have been tapped if your life had just gone average.
JH: Yup –
FL: Okay, so there’s something there that’s really juicy for me, I don’t know if you want to say more – because there’s something there that kind of re-shuffles a bit the idea of what’s bad, and what’s good. People tend to put things in boxes, like ‘this is bad’ (JH – ‘Yeah!’), you know, judgment, right? But it’s almost like what you’re saying that, what look so bad, actually has good in it, so it’s not fully ‘bad.’
JH: [Emphatically agreeing]. Yes, well exactly. That’s what I’m saying is – what’s really inspired me is, there is no bad or good, there’s only lessons, and if you’re aware – you’re in an informal school called Life, and if you ‘attend’ and if you’re aware, then you’re going to realize that every single moment in life, there’s a learning lesson to be learned. So why waste your time with being a victim, ‘oh, life shouldn’t happen to me!’ No no no, let’s not be so high and mighty to think that life shouldn’t happen to us, let’s learn from everything that’s happening! Because every situation is a learning lesson, and so thus we can learn to adjust to those kinds of things. And so yeah, there’s no ‘bad’ or ‘good’, there’s only lessons, there’s only ‘what is.’ And through that, when you’re able to really look at that or really tap that, in my opinion, you’re able to create this self-volition, this fire within that you’re able to project or you’re able to … move forward. I don’t know if that makes sense.
FL: Why you? Why you?
JH: I feel because – I’m gonna get a little ethereal –
JH: - but I feel that why, is that, I’ve been here before, I totally feel it, and in past lives, I was given all the tools, it was exactly how you were saying, I was given the normal life. And you know what, I acted like a normal person. And you know what, I think I even was greedy, and took more than I deserved, because I had a normal life and I was blessed and I didn’t have to struggle. And now, this lifetime I’m born the lowest of the low, an orphan in an orphanage, in Brazil, in the favelas, in the slums, like it doesn’t get any – but to me, that is where I deserved to be, and to rise up so that now, I’m able, through those things that I’ve been through, it’s actually able to wake up that feeling of like, you know what, you need to do something good for this world, you need to go give back, yeah, like it just burns in me like that.
FL: It gave you that purpose, awakened that purpose, that fire in you that gives meaning to a life –
JH: YES, EXACTLY! [very emphatic] Okay, perfect, yes exactly.
FL: Wow. Man – it must be so healing to…
JH: Oh yeah, it’s so healing, it calms me down – it’s like a mental orgasm, it’s like a spiritual orgasm it’s like ‘ahhhh yess!’ You know?
FL: [laughs] yes. Yeah.
JH: And it’s amazing, I have three spirit animals. My first spirit animal is the lizard. It’s not the king of the jungle, it’s not a lion, it’s not huge. But it’s a lizard and it’s about wisdom, he’s lived here for a really long time, he’s about survival, he scampers around and loses his tail if he needs to, for a ‘learning a lesson’ type of thing – ‘oh, learned that lesson!’ You know? It’s in the past, let go of it! You know? Don’t hold onto the past, let go of it, and grow another one. And I have the hawk, and the hawk’s for perception. It’s about seeing things from a birds-eye view – not in the picture, look at things from the big picture! And the wolf, which is just for loyalty, honor, family – I feel I’ll have that when I’m 46. That’s when I feel that I’ll be able to get that token.
FL: How do you get in touch with those totem animals?
JH: Well, you can go to a shaman, or you can go to a Native American here in the United States…
FL: What did you do?
JH: Well, I had a foster father, and he took me on a spirit journey, and we drank some tea, and I saw him turn into these three animals.
JH: No, it was ayahuasca. I saw him turn into these three animals – but I wasn’t afraid, I mean I was afraid at first, at the appearance of the lizard, cause I was like ‘what is going on,’ but he was like ‘oh, don’t worry about it,’ so I was like, ‘okay.’ But then he talked as a lizard – it felt short, but I guess we were in the hut for like three days. My foster father, he was a shaman I guess for the Incan tribe, so he took me through that. I told him what I had been through and he was like, ‘oh, you’re a very special child,’ which I thought, he was just saying that to everybody, but it really meant a lot to me, to the point where I got a tattoo –
FL: Of what?
JH: The lizard; the hawk is next. Perception. And then the wolf is like, down the road.
FL: Yeah. It looks like you’re ready for the hawk.
JH: I agree! I totally agree.
FL: Yeah. One more – what does your future look like? From where you stand today – I want to ask two questions. First, what does your future look like to you?
JH: To me my future looks like this. I want to go back to Brazil and buy my orphanage – that’s my main goal. That’s my goal, go back to Brazil and buy the orphanage, not AN orphanage, I want to buy THE orphanage I was raised in.
FL: Why is that important to you?
JH: Because I want to be able to buy it and make it the best that it can be. I want to buy it and make it what it was supposed to be. I want to have people like yourself come down there, and be able to do what you do, and have a place that – there was three cottages there. For the staff, and for people who were being adopted, when they brought their family – they’d be there. And so that’s what I’m saying, and there’d be the huge room for all the kids. And so what I’m saying is I want to be able to have the garden like they used to have, I want to be able to have the banana trees, mango trees, avocado, guyaba which is guava – all those trees like they used to have, but I want to be able to have people come down there, work for me for 6 months or a year – because I don’t want the children to get connected with you and then be like, ‘ohh, you’re leaving!’ I don’t want the children to go through emotional stuff, so 6 months is a good thing so then they’re like, ‘oh, okay’ and they understand that you’re going to go, and help other people, so they don’t just feel like, ‘oh, people just come and leave.’ But I want to be able to have people come over there who have good things to bring to the table, and them work for me, so that they get a job, so that they work for me the whole time that they’re there, and then they have a place to go touring, or do whatever they want to do at the same time, you know? So it works out for everybody – everybody’s happy, the kids get to learn English or Spanish or whatever other kind of languages they can, which in an orphanage – we never were taught different languages like that. So it would be amazing to me to be able to provide that, and I want to be able to provide a safe place, where kids are not getting molested or beaten or hit or anything like that. I want an environment of love and through that, I’m going to change the world. Why? Because kids get adopted to different parts of the world – Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, United States – and if I show love, and patience, and kindness to all these kids, they’re gonna go out there, and put a little bit of that out. So it’s a ripple effect.
FL: Yeah, beautiful – I see that. That’s actually my second question was, ‘what’s your dream’, and it sounds like that’s your dream.
FL: How close do you see yourself to that? And how anxious are you to get there?
JH: Very anxious, anxious to the point where it hurts my stomach – very anxious to get that done. But how close am I? I’m a job’s step away from that. That’s all I need to do. As soon as I get a job, that I know is consistent and that’ll work with school, cause I know that what I want to do is get a job before I go to school. What I was doing before, was just going to school, I didn’t have a job, and it wasn’t working. So now, this year what I’m going to do is I’m going to go get a job as soon as possible, and that means like yesterday, like I’ve been applying and applying…but what I want to do is be able to get a job, save money, so that I’m able to write up a business plan – as soon as I finish school, that’s when I’m gonna do it. So I’d say I’m two years away from it – as soon as I finish school.
FL: What kind of school?
JH: I go to College of Marin, and I want to be a history teacher. And that’s how I want to be able to make money, so that when I go down to Brazil, I’m able to show them my credentials and say, ‘look, I used to live here and I want to help.’ I don’t want to tell them ‘ hey, I’ve come here to change everything!’ like a rogue person, I want to help – and I want to be able to buy it, I want to be able to help. So…
FL: What if some kind of an ‘angel’ investor, or some kind of wealthy person, showed up on your doorstep tomorrow morning and said, ‘hey, I want to support you. I’ve got the finances…’ What would you say to this person? ‘I’m not ready, I’ve got to find a job first, I’ve got to study…’
JH: No. No I wouldn’t say that. I’d say, all right, well let’s do this, and I’d get a team together…it wouldn’t be too daunting for me in my opinion. It’d be like, ‘what?! YES!!’ And I’d easily be able to go traveling around and go talking to people about the orphanage, and in my opinion, people would do it. And I actually talked to somebody, his name is Bill, and he said when I’ve got the business proposal ready, talk to him a little bit, so…
FL: When you have the business proposal ready.
JH: Yeah, when I have the proposal, and a business plan written up, then…
FL: Yeah. Why is the business plan not up yet?
JH: Due to my own insecurities, about my own self, and my own feelings of like, ‘I’m alone!’ I hate that weakness about myself [laughs] – I don’t hate it, but I’m like, ‘stop!’ It’s like a gnat, it’s like [buzzing noises], go away but it won’t. It’s that fear of, ‘I’m alone in this, I’m alone.’ You know? I’m a great captain, I always just need a general, you know? Because once I see a general, I’m like, ‘oh, that’s how you do it! Now I can be a general!’ Know what I’m saying? Because I haven’t had enough generals around me, you know?
FL: Yeah, yeah. When you say general do you mean like a role model, or - ?
JH: Yeah, like a role model, or a mentor, or –
FL: A mentor who shows you how to - ?
JH: No, not even a mentor who shows me how to – I don’t want a hand down, more like a hand up, you know like, ‘this is how you do it.’ I work on not feeling lonely. As I told you, I’m a normal human being, I have fears and wants of my own, but why I get over these things is because I practice my soul. I practice, ‘no Jimmy, one step at a time,’ I practice, ‘no Jimmy, breathe in and out.’ You know? I don’t despair. I don’t despair – despair, I’m too good at! [laughs] I’m too good at being negative you know? So I don’t do it. Like no thanks…
FL: That’s good, that’s powerful. I’m already good at being negative, so I’m going to try the other thing. Awesome; great. Is there anything else that you feel would be worthy for people?
JH: You know what? In my opinion, the ultimate thing about being happy though, is really loving yourself, is being at peace with yourself.
Is get rid of the guilt, you know? A lot of the things in life that we deal with is either guilt-ridden or fear-ridden, and you gotta love yourself. You know, once you love yourself, you’re gonna know how to be happy.
FL: For someone who doesn’t know how to love themselves, they haven’t been taught, they haven’t been shown – how do you get started with loving yourself? Do you have a tool or practice or - ?
JH: Uh, how you do it is, you have to start out slowly – you have to build a foundation, it’s a building that you’re building. How to, would be …four things: you have to forgive yourself, you have to forgive other people, you have to not want – don’t want, because when you want more than you – I’m talking about, appreciate what you have.
FL: So, forgive yourself, forgive others, appreciate what you have, okay…
JH: yeah, appreciate what you have, and really just be thankful. Because a lot of times, we take things for granted, we forget that we’re not entitled to this. We’re not entitled to this, this is a gift, and the more you’re thankful for it, the more you’re like oh gosh I’m just so grateful to be alive, you know? And you forgive yourself, and that helps you forgive other people because you understand that they’re in the same place – other people want what you want, and they’re in the same place, and so when you forgive yourself, then you know how that feels and you forgive somebody else, you know that kind of peace that you’re giving them.
FL: And that leads naturally to the ability to love yourself.
JH: Exactly! Because you’re like, ‘wow! I love myself, I’m proud of myself because I was a normal human right there, I didn’t try to get anything,’ you know?
FL: Great. Thank you.
JH: Thank you, you’re amazing, you inspire me, I really really appreciate you.