Does the idea of loving yourself as the key to loving others seem like a paradox? According to Richard Jaffe, one of the owners of the Phoenix Suns, it is fundamental.
“I’ve found that loving myself is fundamental to my happiness. The one person I have a relationship with for my entire life is myself, so it’s essential to make that relationship my priority. When I have the inner peace that comes from loving myself, I don’t have to look to others to fill my emotional needs and wants,” Jaffe said.
He shares five tenets that have helped him on his journey through life:
1) Don’t rely on anyone else to make you happy
2) Find your passion and indulge in it
3) Remember – givers gain
4) Control your thoughts and keep them positive
5) Be the very best you can be at whatever you do
The millionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist shares his thoughts in a volume of inspirational poetry called Inner Peace & Happiness: Reflections to Grow Your Soul. They were written over a period of decades, in response to big life events, or simply to put into words what he was feeling at that time in his life.
By writing poetry, Jaffe lives out his second tip outlined above about indulging in his passion. “Poetry helps to provide me balance in life between work, family and other external commitments. When I allow myself time to indulge in my passion, I recharge my spirit, my mind and my body,” he said.
Jaffe began his career in 1975, after graduating from Cornell University, with Nutri-Foods International Inc., a company that manufactured frozen Italian ices. After consulting with customers in order to turn the company around, Jaffe reduced the amount of sugar in the products and added fruit juice. He sold it to Coca-Cola in 1985, where it continued to grow.
After taking some time off, Jaffe decided to get back into business by starting a latex glove company. Due to the AIDS epidemic, the CDC had recently recommended an increase in protective wear for medical professionals. Jaffe saw the need for long-wearing latex gloves that did not cause allergic reactions, and in 1987, started Safeskin, eventually developing a hypoallergenic, powder-free latex glove. The company was named Forbes “Best Small Company in America” in 1996, and later sold to Kimberly-Clark.
Jaffe currently serves on the board of Safe Life Corporation, a medical technology company, and lives in California with his wife and three children. One of his favorite quotations is, “Do today what feels good tomorrow.” In one of his poems, “Eternal Happiness,” Jaffe’s life motto is summed up:
“But a happiness with one’s own true self,
Not an easy bond to make,
Allows our heart to pour out love
Without the need to take.”